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N.  B. — Take  out  carefully,  leaving  about  quarter  of  an  inch 
at  the  back.  To  do  otherwise  would,  in  some  cases,  release 
other  leaves. 

Novel.)  By  Berthold  Auerbach.  New  York: 
Henry  Holt  &  Co.,  1882.  i6mo,  pp.  444.  (Leisure 
Hour  Series,  No.   135.) 

SPINOZA.  (A  Novel.)  By  Berthold  Auerbach. 
New  York:  Henry  Holt  &  Co.,  1882.  i6mo.,  pp. 
444.     (Leisure  Hour  Series,   No.  135.) 

FICTION.  Spinoza.  (A  Novel.)  By  Berthold 
Auerbach.  New  York:  Henry  Holt  &  Co.,  1882. 
i6mo,  pp.  444.     (Leisure  Hour  Series,  No.  135.) 


{Leisure  Hour  Series.) 

ON  THE  HEIGHTS.     2  vols. 

THE  VILLA  ON  THE  RHINE,  2  vols.,  with  Portrait. 



















Author  of  "  On  the  Heights,^'  etc. 
FROM      THE      GERMAN     BY 


All  high  things  are  as  difficult 

of  attainment,  as  rare.  "—Spinoza 






■     Ai4/M 

CHAPTER  I.  '       - 



A  Friday  Evening 14 

The  Jewish  Dominican 26 

The  Synagogue 39 


Father  and  Son 49 

Manuela 55 

Talmud  and  Latin 101 

Thk  Treaty  op  Peace 1^3 

Thb  Cabbalist 144 




The  Lucianist 165 

Benedictus  Sit 185 

A  New  Man 200 

Disciples  of  Descartes 215 

The  New  Ally 229 

Handicraft 235 

The  Unexpressed 255 

Pantheism 268 

^                                      CHAPTER  XVII. 
Proselytes 295 

Kissing  and  Dying 311 

Sthx  Life 322 





Confessions 338 



Peculiarities 365 

Missionaries 377 

The  Excommunication 400 

Wooing  by  Proxy 413 

Scars  and  Purification 426 

Epilogue 440 




ON  a  Friday  afternoon  at  the  end  of  April,  1647, 
in  an  obscure  corner  of  the  Jewish  cemetery  at 
Oudekerk,  near  Amsterdam,  men  were  shovelling 
quickly  to  cover  a  sunken  coffin  with  earth. 

No  mourners  stood  by.  The  people  present  stood 
in  groups,  and  conversed  on  the  events  of  the  day 
or  of  the  life  and  death  of  him  now  given  to  the 
earth,  while  the  gravediggers  hurried  over  their 
work  in  silence  and  indifference  ;  for  already  the 
sun  sinking  in  the  west  showed  that  it  would  soon 
be  time  "to  greet  the  face  of  the  Sabbath." 

At  the  head  of  the  grave  stood  a  pale  youth,  who 
watched  the  brown  clods  fall  into  the   hole   with 
thoughtful  looks.     With  his    left  hand    he  uncon- 
sciously plucked  the  buds  from  the  well-cut  beech 

"Young  friend,"  said  a  stranger  to  the  youth  in 
Spanish,  "are  you   the  only  kinsman  here  of  him 


who  rests  beneath  ?  I  perceive  that  you  knew  him 
well,  and  could  tell  me  who  he  is,  that  he  should  be 
shovelled  over  like  one  plague-stricken  without  a 
sigh  or  word  of  mourning  or  lamentation.  I  am  a 
stranger — " 

*'  I  am  no  more  related  to  him  than  you,"  said  the 
youth  with  some  hesitation,  "in  so  far  as  you,  \ 
presume,  are  of  the  race  of  Israel.  You  must  in- 
deed be  a  stranger,  and  come  from  distant  lands, 
not  to  have  heard  of  the  fate  of  this  unhappy.  God- 
forsaken man.  Oh  !  he  was  great  and  glorious,  and 
how  is  he  fallen  into  the  depths  !" 

"  Pray,"  interrupted  the  stranger,  "  do  not  do  as 
the  others  did  whom  I  asked  on  turning  in  here 
from  the  street;  tell  me — " 

*'Do  you  know  the  family  of  Da  Costa  from 
Oporto  ?"  asked  the  youth. 

"  Who  has  lived  in  Spain,  and  has  not  been  im- 
pressed with  the  renown  of  that  name?  The  most 
distinguished  of  knights  bore  it.  Miguel  da  Costa, 
after  whose  death  the  family  disappeared  from 
Oporto,  was  one  of  the  stateliest  of  the  cavaliers, 
whom  I  saw  at  the  tournament  of  Lisbon;  he  was 
once  a  zealous  member  of  our  secret  community." 

*'He,  who  there  finds  rest  at  last,"  began  the 
youth,  *'  was  his  son,  and,  as  my  father  often  said, 
in  figure  and  bearing  the  image  of  his  sire.  Gabriel, 
as  he  was  named,  was  practised  in  all  knightly 
exercises,    deeply   learned,  especially   in  the    law. 


Though  so  early  tortured  by  religious  doubts,  he 
accepted,  in  his  twenty-fifth  year,  the  office  of 
treasurer  to  the  cathedral  charities.  Then  a  desire 
awoke  in  him  for  the  religion  of  his  forefathers,  and 
with  his  mother  and  brothers  he  left  the  land  where 
rest  the  bones  of  so  many  slain  for  our  faith,  where 
Jews  without  number  kneel,  and  kiss  the  pictures, 
which  they — "  Here  the  youth  suddenly  stopped,  • 
and  listened  to  the  conversation  of  the  diggers  at 
the  grave. 

"  God  forgive  my  sins,"  said  one,  "  but  I  maintain 
this  knave  did  not  deserve  to  be  buried  on  a  Friday 
evening;  because  the  Sabbath  is  coming  in  he  is 
freed  from  the  first  torments  of  corruption.  If  his 
soul  gets  safe  over,  he  will  come  to  a  spread  table, 
and  have  no  need  to  wander  in  Gehiftom  (Hell),  for 
on  the  Sabbath  all  sinners  rest  from  their  torments. 
I  told  them  they  should  have  let  him  lie  till^Sunday 
morning:  it  was  time  enough  for  the  fate  that  await- 
ed him;  and  at  least  his  death  need  not  have  led  us 
to  make  a  hole  in  the  Sabbath.  Make  haste  that  we' 
may  finish." 

*'Ay,  ay,"  responded  the  other,  ''he'll  wonder 
when  he  gets  over,  and  the  destroying  angel  whips 
him  with  fiery  rods;  he'll  believe  then  that  there 
is  another  world  that  he  did  not  see  while  living. 
Think  you  not  so  ?" 

"  Pray  tell  me  more,"  said  the  stranger. 

"  You  have  heard  what  they  said,"  answered  the 


youth,  "  and  the  little  man  there  with  a  hump  on  his 
back,  who  scoffs  at  him  now,  enjoyed  much  of  his 
bounty;  for  his  generosity  was  boundless.  Gabriel 
came  to  Amsterdam,  submitted  to  every  precept, 
and  entered  our  faith.  Henceforth  he  bore  the 
name  of  Uriel  Acosta.  He  followed  zealously  what 
is  written:  *  Thou  shalt  search  therein  day  and 
night.'  I  have  often  been  told  that  it  was  affecting 
to  see  how  the  stately  man  was  not  ashamed  to  be 
instructed  in  Hebrew  or  the  Holy  Scriptures  by  the 
merest  boy.  But  an  unclean  spirit  entered  into  him, 
and  he  began  to  scoff  at  our  pious  Rabbis.  You 
have  heard  here  that  he  was  one  of  those  who  deny 
the  foundations  of  our  faith;  he  has  set  down  the 
sins  of  his  heart  in  his  writings,  and  would  prove 
them  from  the  Holy  Word.  Rabbi  Solomon  de  Sil- 
va, our  celebrated  physician,  has  refuted  his  errors. 
Acosta  was  excommunicated,  but  freed  himself  by 
recantation.  The  contrary  spirit  in  him,  however, 
rested  not.  He  not  only  opposed  our  holy  religion, 
in  that,  as  his  own  nephew  said,  he  violated  the 
Sabbath,  and  enjoying  forbidden  meats,  and  dis- 
suaded two  Christians,  who  would  have  changed  to 
Judaism,  but  he  spoke  openly,  as  a  very  apostate, 
against  all  religion.  For  seven  years  he  refused  to 
live  according  to  the  precepts  of  our  faith,  or  under- 
go the  penance  laid  upon  him.  He*  should  have 
been  laid  forever  under  the  greater  excommuni- 
cation, and  expelled  from  among  our  people.     On 


the  persuasion  of  his  former  friend,  the  pious  Rabbi 
Naphthali  Pereira,  he  submitted  to  the  sentence  of 
the  Beth-Din  (the  court  of  Rabbis),  and  bore  all  the 
hard  penances  to  which  they  subjected  him.  My 
father  often  said,  if  Acosta  had  entered  the  field  in 
defence  of  our  religion  he  would  have  cheerfully 
and  courageously  gone  to  his  death  for  it,  but  he 
could  not  live  for  it.  Domestic  disunion,  the  break- 
ing off  of  his  engagement  to  a  daughter  of  Josua  di 
Leon,  disordered  his  mind  entirely.  He  left  as  his 
last  will  the  story  of  his  life,  wherein  he  sought  to 
justify  himself  ;  if  you  remain  in  Amsterdam  you 
may  hear  many  other  things  about  him.  For  a 
long  time  he  had  not  spoken  with  any  one,  contrary 
to  his  former  ways;  men  took  it  for  repentance,  but 
he  brooded  over  new  misdeeds.  He  shunned  the 
Rabbi  Naphthali  Pereira,  for  he  held  him  to  be  the 
first  cause  of  his  sorrows  and  misfortunes.  Early 
yesterday,  as  the  Rabbi  passed  Acosta's  house  on 
his  return  from  the  synagogue,  the  apostate  shot  at 
the  holy  man  with  a  pistol.  He  was  once  a  good 
shot,  and  renowned  for  it  in  his  native  town  ;  but 
an  angel  from  heaven  must  have  held  his  arm,  for 
it  is  wonderful  that  he  did  not  wound  the  holy 
man  !  He  seems  to  have  premeditated  the  deed, 
for  he  immediately  seized  a  second  loaded  pistol, 
and  shot  himself  in  the  mouth,  so  that  his  brains  are 
said  to  have  been  blown  even  to  the  roof.  For  this, 
therefore,  is  he  now  infamous — " 


**  Baruch,"  interrupted  a  long  lank  youth  who 
now  approached  them,  ''  Baruch,  come;  all  is  fin- 
ished, and  we  return  home  with  our  master." 

"I  am  coming,  Chisdai,"  answered  Baruch;  and 
bowing  to  the  stranger  he  crossed  to  where  those 
assembled  prayed  in  the  Aramaic  language  for  the 
resurrection  of  the  dead  and  the  restoration  of 
Jerusalem.  On  leaving  the  graveyard  each  one 
plucked  grass  three  times  from  the  ground,  and 
throwing  it  over  his  head  said  the  following  verse 
in  Hebrew:  "And  they  of  the  city  shall  flourish  like 
grass  of  the  earth"  (Ps.  Ixxii.  ii).  Three  times, 
in  front  of  the  graveyard,  each  one  washed  his 
hands  in  the  water  brought  for  the  purpose,  to 
cleanse  himself  from  the  touch  of  the  demons  who 
haunt  God's  acre.  While  so  doing  they  said  the 
verse  (Is.  xxv.  8),  "  He  will  swallow  up  death  in 
victory."  Only  then  could  they  proceed  on  their 
homeward  way,  but  even  on  the  road  the  verses  of 
Ps.  xc.  15  and  Ps.  xci.  must  be  three  times  repeated. 
According  to  custom,  they  seated  themselves  while 
commencing  the  verses  on  a  stone,  or  sod;  the  first 
verse  being  spoken  they  renewed  their  march. 
Thus  departed  Baruch  and  Chisdai,  with  their 
teacher  Rabbi  Saul  Morteira  between  them. 

"So  let  all  thine  enemies  perish,  O  Lord!" 
(Judges  V.  31)  said  Chisdai  at  last.  "On  this 
haughty  man  the  judgment  of  the  Lord  has  declared 
itself  in  all  its  might.     Thou  didst  not  see  his  pen- 


ance,  Baruch.  I  hope  that  mine  eyes  may  never 
see  such  another.  A  sinful  pity  arose  in  me  until  I 
perceived  with  sorrow  that  men  are  constrained  to 
wield  the  lash  of  God.  All  is  fixed  in  my  memory. 
I  see  the  apostate  before  me  as  he  read  out  his  re- 
cantation in  the  synagogue,  in  a  white  winding- 
sheet,  not  in  his  former  imperious  tone;  he  carried 
his  front  less  audaciously  high:  but  what  good  was 
it  that  he,  like  the  Prophet  Isaiah,  bowed  his  head 
like  a  reed  to  the  wind  ?  And  when  they  led  him  to 
the  corner,  and  bound  his  Samson-like  arms  to  the 
pillar,  and  bared  his  broad  back — I  see  it  all  before 
me  as  plainly  as  if  it  were  before  these  eyes  now. 
The  Chacham  stood  near  the  sexton,  and  read  out 
the  verse  (Ps.  Ixxviii.  38):  "But  he,  being  full  of 
compassion,  forgave  their  iniquity,  and  destroyed 
them  not:  yea,  many  a  time  turned  he  his  anger 
away,  and  did  not  stir  up  all  his  wrath."  Three 
times  he  repeated  the  thirteen  words,  and  at  each 
word  the  sexton  laid  his  lash  on  the  bare  back.  Not 
the  slightest  sign  of  pain  did  he  give,  and  when  he 
had  received  the  required  number,  he  still  lay  there 
motionless,  his  mouth  kissing  the  ground  his  feet 
had  refused  to  tread.  At  last  he  was  reclothed  and 
led  to  the  entrance  of  the  synagogue:  there  in  the 
doorway  he  was  forced  to  kneel,  the  sexton  hold- 
ing his  head,  that  each  as  he  went  out  might  set  his 
foot  on  the  scarred  back,  and  step  over  him  in  his 
way;  I  made  myself  heavier  as  I  stepped,  that  he 


might  feel  my  foot  also.  I  tell  thee  it  is  a  shame 
that  thy  father  should  have  taken  thee  away  with 
him  just  on  that  day.  I  saw  him,  when  all  the 
rest  were  gone,  rise,  and  go  back  into  the  syna- 
gogue; he  tore  the  holy  chest  furiously  open,  and 
gazed  long  on  the  scroll  of  laws,  till  the  sexton 
reminded  him  to  go.  "Are  the  gates  of  heaven 
again  opened  to  me  ?"  he  asked — and  he  seemed 
to  me  to  laugh  scornfully.  He  wrapped  himself 
in  his  mantle  and  sneaked  home.  The  ways  of 
God  are  just !  He  has  fallen  into  the  pit  which 
he  digged  for  others.  Thus  must  all  such  perish: 
he  is  lost  both  here  and  there."  Chisdai  glanced 
at  his  teacher  to  read  in  his  looks  the  approval 
of  his  holy  zeal ;  he,  however,  shook  his  head 
thoughtfully,  and  repeated  the  prayer  before  him 

Baruch  had  twice  opened  his  mouth  to  answer 
his  schoolfellow,  but  fearing  to  express  his  pity  for 
the  sinner's  fate  too  warmly,  he  had  remained  silent. 
Now  when  he  perceived  the  displeasure  of  his 
teacher,  he  said,  "  Thou  dost  not  appear  to  imitate 
the  Rabbi  Myer's  wife,"  alluding  to  a  narrative  in 
the  Talmud  in  which  the  woman  changed  the  word 
sinner  in  Ps.  civ.  35,  "  Let  the  sinners  be  consumed 
out  of  the  earth,  and  let  the  wicked  be  no  more," 
into  sins^  and  continued,  "for  there  is  not  a  just 
man  upon  earth,  that  doeth  good  and  sinneth  not  " 
(Ec.  vii.  20). 

A  CO  STA.  g 

"  I  too  abominate  the  teaching  that  led  to  the 
perplexities  of  Uriel — " 

"Name  him  no  more:  he  is  damned,"  interrupted 
Chisdai;  while  Baruch  continued: 

"  He  has  overthrown  even  his  teachings,  since 
it  drove  him  to  suicide.  While  he  lived  men 
judged  him;  now  he  is  dead  God  alone  can  judge 

The  Rabbi  nodded  to  Baruch  without  saying  a 
word,  being  still  busied  with  the  Psalms. 

"But  it  is  written,"  said  Chisdai  defiantly  (Prov. 
X.  7),  '^ '  The  name  of  the  wicked  shall  rot.'  " 

The  three  walked  on  for  some  minutes  in  silence, 
each  engrossed  by  his  own  thoughts.  At  last  the 
Rabbi  broke  the  stillness,  and  explained  that  the 
revealed  law  admitted  of  no  denial,  for  God  had 
written  it  with  His  own  hand,  and  delivered  it  to 
us  all  that  we  might  live  according  to  it. 

"Whoever  desires  to  live  according  to  the  sug- 
gestions of  his  reason,  denies  the  necessity  of  reve- 
lation, denies  its  truth,  and  thereby  mocks  the  laws 
that  must  rule  him." 

"  There  are  men,"  concluded  the  Rabbi,  "  who 
say:  *  Let  each  think  and  believe  as  he  can  answer  it 
to  himself.'  They  are  themselves,  without  knowing 
it,  fallen  away.  We  dare  not  leave  any  one  born 
in  our  faith  to  perdition,  for  it  would  be  our  per- 
dition also.  If  we  can  bring  him  with  discourse 
to  repentance  and  penance,  we  sing  *  Hallelujah!  * 

10  .  SPINOZA. 

but  if  he  remain  obdurate  and  stubborn,  we  rend 
our  garments;  he  is  dead;  he  must  die,  or  kill  the 
Satan  in  his  heart.  We  constrain  him  with  all  the 
power  that  God  has  given  us." 

"They  constrain  him  until  he  says  'I  will,'" 
interrupted  Chisdai  from  the  Talmud;  and  the 
Rabbi  continued: 

"  If  we  cannot  exorcise  the  lying  spirit  in  him,  we 
exterminate  him,  and  his  devil  also.  When  words 
no  longer  reach,  the  Lord  has  given  us  the  stone 
wherewith  to  stone.  Let  not  yourselves  be  led  by 
those  who  are  now  soft-hearted  over  the  fate  of  the 
apostate,  and  say,  'They  should  have  saved  him — 
not  driven  him  so  far.'  It  is  well  for  him  that  he 
can  sin  no  longer." 

A  singular  train  of  thought  must  have  risen  in 
Baruch's  mind,  for  he  asked  after  a  pause: 

"  Where  in  Holy  Scripture  is  suicide  forbidden  ?" 

"What  a  question!"  replied  the  Rabbi  peevishly; 
and  Chisdai  added: 

"  It  says  in  the  sixth  commandment,  '  Thou  shalt 
do  no  murder,'  without  comment,  and  that  means 
neither  another  nor  thyself." 

"You  start  strange  questions  to-day,"  said  the 
Rabbi  disapprovingly  to  Baruch.  He,  however, 
could  not  explain  what  disturbed  him.  The  stranger 
had  aroused  him  from  deep  thought  as  he  stood 
by  the  grave  of  the  heretic,  gazing  into  the  pit 
while  they  lowered  the  body  in;  it  seemed  to  him 

A  CO  STA.  II 

as  though  his  own  body  were  sunk  therein,  and 
that  his  spirit  wandered  complainingly  and  ques- 
tioningly  through  the  world.  Is  it  the  fate  of  the 
wanderer  that  he  should  be  pushed  over  a  preci- 
pice ?  Who  can  compel  another's  mind,  who  com- 
pel his  own,  to  keep  to  the  path  mapped  out  for 
him  ?  How  unalterable  must  have  been  the  con- 
victions of  him  who  was  there  shovelled  over,  that 
for  their  sake  he  should  have  tried  to  give  death  to 
others,  and  have  given  death  to  himself  !  Who  dare 
judge  and  condemn  in  such  a  case  as  this  ?  The 
words  of  the  stranger  had  broken  in  on  these  heavy 
thoughts;  the  words  of  the  Rabbi  on  their  return 
had  awakened  his  opposition  anew,  and  raised  a  for- 
gotten memory  in  the  mind  of  the  youth.  Years 
before,  when  he  stood  for  the  first  time  among  the 
graves,  this  grief  had  disturbed  the  mind  of  the 
boy.  His  uncle,  Immanuel,  was  then  buried;  long 
an  invalid,  he  had  been  much  with  the  children, 
and  had  made  them  his  messengers  to  the  outer 
world.  When  all  the  people  had  left  the  grave- 
yard, some  to  school,  others  to  the  harbor  or  ex- 
change, and  others  to  workshops  and  counting- 
houses,  the  noise  of  the  city  still  going  on,  as  if 
nothing  had  happened,  the  boy's  heart  beat  fast 
within  him  as  the  question  arose  in  it: 

*•  How  can  everything  go  on  so  uninterruptedly 
when  our  uncle  is  really  no  longer  at  home  ?" 

For  hours  the  child  wept  in  the  empty  room  of 


the  dead  man,  where  the  window  stood  wide  open 
as  it  had  never  stood  before;  and  he  railed  at  the 
cruel  people,  who  left  the  sick  man  lying  outside, 
and  acted  as  if  they  had  known  no  uncle.  His 
mother — for  he  dared  not  complain  to  his  father 
so — sought  to  pacify  him,  and  explain  that  his 
uncle  was  no  longer  alone  and  ill,  but  well  and 
happy  above  with  God  and  his  forefathers  and  all 
good  men.  The  boy  could  not  understand,  and 

'^  Ah!  you  have  not  seen  them:  they  have  put  him 
in  a  deep  pit,  and  thrown  great  sods  on  the  box  in 
which  he  was  sleeping;  he  is  surely  awake  and  can- 
not get  out."  His  mother  strove  to  explain  that, 
only  the  body  was  buried;  the  soul  was  with  God. 
The  boy  was  pacified,  but  for  weeks  he  thought,  in 
storm  and  rain,  "How  is  it  with  our  uncle  in  the 
earth?"  .  .  . 

Since  then  he  had  stood  at  the  grave  of  his 
mother,  and  remembered  her  consoling  words. 
But  to-day,  at  the  grave  of  Acosta,  the  recollection 
of  his  uncle's  funeral  awoke  anew.  The  apostate 
who  was  here  buried  had  never  been  free  all  his 
life  long  from  this  pain  that  made  his  heart  beat  so 
fast.  How  does  it  happen  that  children  and  here- 
tics ask  the  same  questions  ?  Is  it  because  the  one 
knows  naught  of  revelation,  and  the  other  rejects  it 
wilfully,  intending  to  answer  the  questions  for  him- 
self ?     Who  dare  punish  for  such  struggles  } 

A  CO  STA. 


"  Be  not  righteous  over  much;  neither  make  thy- 
self over  wise:  why  shouldst  thou  destroy  thyself? 
(Ec.  vii.  17,)  said  Baruch  to  himself,  and  was  silent. 

When  they  arrived  at  the  Rabbi's  house  he  re- 
minded his  scholars  impressively  that  the  morrow 
would  be  the  6th  of  Ijar.  They  separated,  each  to 
his  own  home,  to  change  their  garments  and  hasten 
to  the  synagogue. 

The  corn-seed  falls  on  open  ground,  a  sod  crum- 
bles and  covers  it,  and  no  one  considers  how  it 
sprouts  and  strikes  root,  thus  hidden  from  human 
eyes.  Well  may  the  life  of  man  be  likened  to  such 
hidden  growth:  its  laws  are  still  less  revealed; 
only  the  result  can  be  modified,  not  the  process; 
examination  but  reveals  more  and  more  interrup- 
tions in  this  growth. 

Again,  no  fruit  grows  to  perfection  except  thus  : 
the  seed-corn  must  renew  the  changes  of  its  life; 
must  bud  and  sprout,  become  stem,  foliage,  and 
tree,  to  give  seven  and  a  hundred  fold  of  the  fruit 
that  nourishes  life  anew. 



THAT  evening,  in  the  corner  room  of  the  high 
house  with  the  large  bow-windows  and  hand- 
some stucco  work  that  stood  on  the  town  wall  near 
the  synagogue,  unusual  illumination  and  splen- 
dor reigned.  The  silver  chandelier  in  the  centre 
of  the  room,  whose  rare  arabesques  were  usually 
wrapped  in  gauze,  shone  brilliantly  in  reflection  of 
the  seven  candles  that  blazed  in  a  circle  round  it. 
There  were  many  other  beauties  to  illuminate:  the 
cushions  of  the  carved  chairs  were  stripped  of  their 
ordinary  gray  covers,  and  revealed  the  magnificence 
of  their  silk  and  gold  embroidered  flowers  and  birds 
to  the  eyes  of  all  beholders,  so  that  hardly  a  glance 
could  be  spared  for  the  gorgeous  carpet  beneath. 
The  glittering  goblets  and  glasses  stood  in  regular 
order  on  the  sideboard,  and  reflected  the  light  in 
varied  broken  rays.  From  the  stove,  a  light  puff 
of  sandalwood  smoke  arose,  and  pervaded  the 
moderately  spacious  apartment,  in  whose  midst 
under  the  chandelier  stood  a  round  table  covered 
with  pink-flowered  damask,  on  which  the  silver 
pitchers  and  goblets  seemed  to  give  promise  of  a 



small  but  jovial  company.  On  the  east  wall  hung 
a  picture  on  gilt  parchment,  and  above  it  in  Hebrew- 
characters  was  written,  "  From  this  side  blows  the 
breath  of  Life."  A  frame  brown  with  age  enclosed 
the  picture,  in  whose  faded  outlines  the  walls  of  a 
city  were  still  recognizable,  and  underneath,  in 
Hebrew,  the  verse,  "  Then  the  heathen  that  are 
left  round  about  you  shall  know  that  I,  the  Lord, 
build  the  ruined  places,  and  plant  that  which  was 
desolate:  I,  the  Lord,  have  spoken  it,  and  I  will  do 
it"  (Ezek.  xxxvi.  36).  It  was  the  ancient  city  of 
the  Lord,  Jerusalem;  and  many  eyes,  now  darkened 
in  the  bosom  of  the  earth,  had  rested,  with  tears  of 
grief  or  longing  looks  of  joy,  on  this  gilded  parch- 
ment. There  was  no  other  picture  on  the  tapestry- 
decked  walls.  On  the  ottoman  reclined  a  youthful 
maiden;  her  rounded  cheek  rested  on  her  right 
hand,  the  fingers  were  lost  to  sight  in  the  abun- 
dance of  her  unbound  raven  tresses  as  she  thus 
rested;  an  open  prayer-book  lay  before  her,  but  her 
eyes  wandered  beyond  it  into  vacancy. 

Was  it  devotion,  was  it  the  thought  of  God,  that 
filled  her  soul?  Was  it  a  beautiful  memory  that 
rose  before  her,  or  dream-pictures  of  the  future  that 
entranced  her  and  brought  that  celestial  longing  to 
the  rosy  lips,  and  doubled  the  pulsations  of  her 
heart?  Or  was  it  that  happy  unconscious  waking 
dream,  that  so  often  surprises  the  maiden  develop- 
ing into  womanhood,  and  raises  nameless  and  un- 

1 6  SPINOZA. 

defined  longings  in  her  breast  ?  A  Sabbath  stillness 
rested  on  all  her  fairy-like  surroundings.  "  I  be- 
lieve you  are  tired,  Miriam,  and  no  wonder  !"  said 
a  nasal  voice  as  the  door  opened. 

Miriam  sprang  up  hastily,  pushed  back  her  hair 
from  her  brow,  kissed  the  prayer-book  fervently, 
laid  it  on  the  window-seat,  and  quickly  smoothed 
the  ottoman. 

"Why,  what  a  fright  you  are  in  !  Did  you  think 
a  witch  was  coming  ?  I  may  be  ugly  enough  for  one, 
it  is  true;  I  have  not  had  time  to  change  my  dress; 
but  that  was  a  piece  of  work,"  said  old  Chaje;  and 
indeed  her  whole  appearance  verified  her  descrip- 
tion of  herself.  A  coif  smoked  by  the  fire  covered 
her  gray  hair,  except  where  some  locks  escaped, 
and  strayed  like  cobwebs  over  her  wrinkled  face;  a 
black  streak  of  soot  on  her  left  cheek,  and  half  over 
her  nose  was  remarked  upon  by  Miriam,  and  Chaje 
tried  to  wipe  it  off  before  the  mirror. 

"You  were  quite  right,"  she  continued  as  she 
wiped  her  face  with  her  kitchen  apron.  "  You  were 
quite  right  to  lie  down  a  little.  Why  should  that 
thing  stand  there  the  whole  year  round  and  never 
be  used  ?  I  wish  I  could  lie  down  on  my  bed  for 
awhile;  I  want  nothing  to  eat  to-night,  I  am  so 
weary.  Ay!  When  one  has  been  eighteen  years  in 
one  service,  one  feels  the  toil  does  not  only  wear 
one's  clothes  out.  You  would  be  tired  enough  if 
you  had  been  ten   times   up  and  down,  cleaning 


everything  yourself  and  getting  a  bed  ready  for  the 
strange  guest;  it  is  no  little  to  do,  but  it  is  all  set 
to  rights  now:  he  will  stare  to  see  it.  What  a  good 
thing  it  is  you  bought  the  fish !  Wine,  fish,  and 
meat — that  the  poor  man  has  among  the  poor  every 
Sabbath.  Without  fish  the  Sabbath  is  not  rightly 
kept:  it  says  so  in  the  Thora.  You  are  such  a 
good  housewife,  you  ought  to  be  married  soon; 
you  will  ask  me  to  the  wedding  ?  Only  take  care 
not  to  wed  such  a  little  Schlemiehl  as  your  Rebecca 
has.  Have  you  seen  how  Baruch  looks  again  to- 
day? As  if  he  had  been  ten  years  underground. 
I'm  afraid — I'm  afraid  that  much  learning  m«y — 
God  forbid  it! — injure  his  health.  Day  and  night, 
nothing  but  learning,  learning,  learning;  and  how 
will  it  end  ?  My  brother  Abraham  had  a  son,  who 
was  as  knowing  as  Ristotles;  he  studied  so  much, 
that  at  last  he  quite  stupefied  himself.  But  hark!  I 
think  the  service  in  the  synagogue  is  over.  I  must 
go;  I  wouldn't  be  seen  by  any  decent  Jew  as  I  am 
now.  They  are  coming  up  the  steps."  Therewith 
Chaje  slipped  through  the  door. 

Miriam  was  glad  to  be  free  from  the  tiresome 
talker.  Her  father,  the  stranger,  whom  we  saw  in 
the  graveyard  in  conversation  with  Baruch,  and 
Baruch  himself  entered.  Miriam  approached  her 
father,  and  bowed  before  him;  he  laid  both  hands 
on  her  head,  and  blessed  her  in  a  low  voice,  saying 
these  words;  "  The  Lord  make  thee  like  the  mothers, 

1 8  ■  SPINOZA, 

Sarah,  Rebecca,  Rachel,  and  Leah;"  and  he  also 
blessed  Baruch,  saying  this  verse  in  low  tones: 
"The  Lord  make  thee  like  Ephraim  and  Manasseh." 
He  and  Baruch  then  chanted  a  short  canticle  in 
honor  of  the  troop  of  angels  who  enter  the  house 
of  a  Jew  on  each  Sabbath.  The  father's  voice  took 
a  melancholy  tone,  as  he  sang,  wi^h  his  son,  in  the 
usual  manner,  the  praise  of  woman  in  Prov.  xxxi. 
lo:  "Who  can  find  a  virtuous  woman  ?"  The 
beauty,  and  even  the  management  of  the  house, 
were  the  same  as  ever;  the  careful  housewife  had 
ensured  its  continuance;  but  she  herself  had  been 
torn  from  him  by  death.  Doubly  painful  was  the 
thought  of  her  loss  amid  Sabbath  joys.  The  stran- 
ger noticed  the  picture  on  the  wall. 

"  Do  you  recognize  it  yet,  Rodrigo?"  said  the  father 
when  he  had  finished  the  whispered  prayer.  "  It  is 
an  old  heirloom,  and  hung  once  in  our  cellar  syna- 
gogue at  Guadalajara;  I  saved  it  with  much  danger." 

While  the  two  friends  spoke  of  their  old  asso- 
ciations, Baruch  and  Miriam  stood  at  the  opposite 
end  of  the  apartment. 

"  You  have  a  dreadfully  dismal  face  again  to- 
day," said  Miriam,  smoothing  her  brother's  hair 
from  his  brow  as  she  spoke;  "come  to  the  mirror 
and  see." 

Baruch  caught  his  sister's  hand  and  held  it  fast; 
he  said  nothing,  but  listened  to  the  conversation  of 
the  men, 



'•  It  was  an  instance  of  divine  providence,  for 
which  I  shall  ever  be  thankful,  that  I  recognized 
you  directly  you  passed,"  said  his  father  to  the 

"  So  you  know  my  son,  Baruch,  already;  this  is 
my  youngest  daughter.  How  old  are  you  now, 
Miriam  ?" 

"Only  a  year  younger  than  Baruch,"  answered 
the  maiden,  blushing. 

"A  foolish  answer,"  said  her  father:  "she  is  four- 
teen, I  believe.  I  have  an  elder  daughter,  already 

"Ah,  my  dears!  I  have  two  children  also,"  said 
the  stranger.  "  My  Isabella  is  about  your  age, 
Miriam;  my  son  will  soon  be  twenty  now.  I  hope 
when  my  children  come  here  you  will  take  care  of 
them,  especially  in  things  pertaining  to  religion, 
for  in  all  such  they  are  wholly  inexperienced. 
But  stay,"  continued  the  stranger  as  he  stood 
with  folded  arms  before  Baruch.  "When  I  look  at 
Baruch  again,  I  cannot  understand  how  it  was  I 
did  not  recognize  him  in  the  graveyard:  his  sin- 
gularly dark  complexion,  his  long,  dark,  almost 
black  eyebrows,  are  just  like  yours  in  your  younger 
days,  when  you  meditated  some  daring  adventure 
or  other;  and  this  frown  on  his  uneven  brow — that 
is  just  you;  but  the  black  wavy  hair,  and  fine-cut 
mouth,  with  the  soft  dimple  at  the  corner — ah, 
with  what  celestial  sweetness  Manuela  smiled  with 


those  lips !  A  certain  bold  oppositiveness,  that 
speaks  in  the  lines  of  his  face,  all  give  him  a  par- 
tially Moorish  look  that  he  has  from  his  mother. 
Ah,  if  she  still  lived,  what  joy  it  would  give  her  to 
see  me  here  to-day!" 

Baruch  listened  to  this  description  of  tiirhself  un- 
willingly, and  half  in  fear.  When  he  heard  thus 
of  his  partially  Moorish  origin,  he  recollected  that 
Chisdai  had  taunted  him  with  it  in  school;  he  was 
indignant  that  his  father  had  not  imparted  it  to 
him  before.  The  latter  noticed  the  annoyance  of 
bis  son,  and  said  to  the  stranger, 

"You  cannot  conceal,  Rodrigo,  that  you  are  a 
pupil  of  Silva  Velasquez,  and  helped  him  to  point 
out  the  beauty  and  ugliness  of  others  to  the  dames 
of  Philip's  court.  Baruch,  you  must  show  this 
gentleman  your  drawings  to-morrow.  Do  not  look 
so  timid;  nothing  has  been  done  to  you." 

*'  No,  no,"  said  the  stranger,  as  he  patted  the 
boy's  cheek,  "  I  hope  we  shall  be  good  friends. 
Did  you  not  know  my  cousin,  the  learned  Jacob 
Casseres  ?" 

"Not  himself,"  said  Baruch,  "but  I  knew  his 
book,  'The  seven  days  of  the  week  at  the  Crea- 
tion.' " 

They  then  sat  down  to  table,  blessed  the  bread 
and  the  wine,  and  inaugurated  the  Sabbath. 

"  It  is  strange,"  remarked  the  host,  after  grace 
was  said:  "on  other   days   I  can  hardly  finish  the 


last  mouthful  before  I  put  my  lighted  cigar  in  my 
mouth,  but  on  the  Sabbath  it  is  as  if  all  our  habits 
were  changed;  I  do  not  desire  to  smoke,  and  it 
gives  me  no  annoyance  to  practise  the  self-denial." 
The  guest  gave  no  response. 

"  Bless  me,"  continued  the  host,  "  I  notice  now 
you  still  keep  to  our  native  custom  of  mixing  wine 
with  water.  If  you  remain  with  us  in  the  foggy 
north,  where  we  force  land  from  the  sea,  and  guard 
it  each  hour;  where  half  the  year  the  earth  is  stiff, 
and  the  blue  canopy  of  heaven  hidden  with  clouds; 
where  you  breathe  in  mist  and  vapor,  instead  of 
clear  air;  here  in  our  town,  springs  flow, 
and  water  for  drinking  must  be  brought  from  a 
distance;  where  men  live  as  if  imprisoned  by  the 
sea;  where  the  climate  itself  compels  men  to  be 
tranquil  and  com.posed,  and  the  foresight  and 
patience  which  have  made  the  land,  and  still  hold 
it,  are  the  prime  virtues  of  mankind:  remain  here, 
I  say,  and  believe  me,  you  will  soon  conform  to  our 
custom,  and  pour  pure  grape  blood  into  your  old 
veins  to  make  yours  circulate  the  faster.  Ah,  it  is 
a  glorious  and  precious  country,  our  Spain  !  Our 
Eden  inhabited  by  devils.  Now  when  I  must  so 
soon  lay  my  weary  head  in  the  bosom  of  the  earth,  I 
feel  for  the  first  time  that  it  is  not  my  native  land 
that  will  receive  me." 

"You  are  unjust,"  replied  the  stranger.  "You 
here   sit  at   your   table   without  fear:    there   your 


friend  and  your  own  child  might  be  forced  to  con- 
fess with  a  heavy  heart  that  you  secretly  worshipped 
the  God  of  Israel;  and  the  glow  of  a  funeral  pile 
might  warm  your  old  veins  instead  of  this  costly 
wine.  You  may  drsam  now  of  the  pleasures  of 
your  native  land,  and  forget  the  terrible  death  that 
stared  us  in  the  face  !  The  glorious  chestnut  woods 
with  their  cool  dark  shade  could  not  invite  us  to 
rest,  or  the  rich  forests  to  the  chase;  on  the  morrow 
those  trees  might  be  our  fagots;  on  the  morrow  we 
might  be  the  hunter's  prey.  In  truth,  when  I  hear 
you  speak  so,  I  could  join  with  those  zealots  who 
ascribe  our  afflictions  to  excessive  love  of  our  native 
land,  too  great  pride  and  gratification  in  the  respect 
we  had  won  there." 

"Yes,  yes,  you  are  right,"  answered  his  host; 
"but  let  us  not  disturb  the  joy  of  our  reunion  with 
dismal  reflections.  Come,  drink  !  But  stay  !  Mir- 
iam, bring  the  Venetian  goblets  here;  and  let  Elsje 
light  you  to  the  cellar,  and  bring  the  two  flasks 
that  De  Castro  sent  me." 

"Brilliant!"  exclaimed  the  stranger  as  he  raised 
the  glass  of  newly  poured  out  wine  to  his  lips; 
"  that  is  real  Val  de  Pefias;  where  did  it  come  from?" 

"  As  I  said,  Ramiro  de  Castro  sent  it  to  me  from 
Hamburg.  The  wine  has  improved  with  us,  but 
now  it  grows  more  fiery;  and  we —  !" 

"Well,  well,  we  have  lived;  be  content.  The 
wine  awakes  the  long-extinguished  fire  in  me.     Dost 



thou  remember  yet?  Such  wine  we  drank  that 
evening  in  the  Posada  near  the  House  of  Donna 
Ines,  who  had  already  made  thee  wait  two  even- 
ings in  vain.  You  struck  the  table,  and  swore 
never  to  see  her  again;  yet  the  next  evening  in  the 
silent  Arbor  it  was  *  dear  Alfonso '  and  *  dear  Ines ' 
again.     Ha !  ha !  ha  !" 

The  father  warned  his  friend  of  the  presence  of 
the  children;  the  stranger  took  little  notice,  however, 
and  revelled  in  the  wine  of  his  native  land. 

"  Do  you  remember  that  heavenly  summer  even- 
ing?" he  continued,  "when  we  sauntered  on  the 
Alameda  in  Guadalaxara?  I  see  you  now,  when  the 
bells  tolled  nine,  and  every  one  stood  still  as  if 
by  magic  to  pray  a  Pater  Noster.  I  see  you  stand- 
ing before  me:  how  you  crushed  your  hat  in  your 
hands!  Your  eyes  flashed  fire  as  though  they  would 
set  the  whole  world  in  flames.  Donna  Ines  not  ex- 
cepted.    You  were  a  dangerous  cavalier." 

"  By  G — ,"  continued  the  stranger,  after  he  had 
taken  another  pull  at  the  wine.  "  The  sweat  still 
stands  on  my  brow  when  I  think  how  we  stood 
once  in  Toledo  before  the  church  of  'Our  Lady  del 
Transito.'  *  Do  you  see,'  you  said,  gnashing  your 
teeth,  *  that  splendid  building  was  once  the  syna- 
gogue of  our  fathers.  Samuel  Levi,  who  built  it, 
hangs  rotting  on  the  gallows,  and  now — '  It  was  a 
real  wonder  that,  in  spite  of  thy  audacity,  we  got 
away  with  whole  heads." 

:24  SPINOZA. 

Thus  the  two  old  friends  renewed  the  memories 
of  their  youth.  For  an  hour  they  lived  a  life  of 
pleasure  and  youthful  fire. 

"  I  cannot  understand,"  said  Baruch  once,  "  how 
a  man  could  be  happy  for  a  moment  in  such  a 
land,  where  he  would  perpetually  see  scorn,  shame, 
and  death  before  him." 

"  You  are  too  young,"  said  the  stranger.  "  Believe 
me,  if  men  watched  your  lightest  breath,  there  are 
hours,  yea  days,  when  you  can  be  happy,  and  for- 
get everything.  If  men  repulse  you  with  scorn, 
and  push  you  and  yours  aside  into  the  mud,  there 
is  a  holy  of  holies,  wherein  no  earthly  power  enters: 
it  is  your  own  consciousness,  union  with  your  own 
faithful  circle;  the  heaven  that  there  surrounds  us 
no  man  can  take  from  us;  not  even  the  ever  present 
horror  of  death. 

"  All  these  afflictions  have  passed  over  us,  and  yet 
we  were  happy." 

"But  the  incessant  discord  in  the  soul  ?  Chris- 
tian before  the  world,  and  Jew  at  heart  ?" 

"  That  was  our  misfortune,  that  I  witnessed  in 
your  uncle  Geronimo." 

"  Why  does  he  not  leave  his  dreary  hermitage^ 
and  come  to  us  ?"  inquired  Baruch. 

"  He  has  left  his  hermitage,  and  we  shall  go  to 
him:  he  is  dead.  Boy,  these  sad  experiences  you 
should  have  lived  through;  it  would  do  you  good 
your  whole  life  long." 


Baruch  had  risen  from  his  seat,  and  repeated  the 
verse  appointed  to  be  said  on  hearing  of  a  death: 

"  Praised  be  Thou,  O  Lord  our  God,  King  of  the 
World,  and  Righteous  Judge!" 

"  Tell  us  of  it,  I  pray  you,"  he  added;  and  Miriam 
too  approached  the  table,  and  joined  in  her  brother's 

''  It  is  the  Sabbath,  and  I  ought  not  to  do  it," 
said  the  stranger;  "but  as  you  ask  it,  so  let  it  be. 
It  was  his  death  that  decided  me  to  save  myself 
and  all  dear  to  me  from  such  a  lie." 



RODRIGO  CASSERES  took  another  long 
draught  from  his  tall  goblet,  and  began  his 

"About  eight  months  ago  I  received  a  letter  from 
Seville  through  Philip  Capsoli;  I  was  horrified 
when  I  read  the  address,  ^  To  Daniel  Casseres  in 
Guadalaxara.'  It  could  only  be  some  thoughtless 
Jew  who  would  address  me  by  my  Hebrew  name. 
How  I  trembled  at  the  contents  !  '  Daniel,  Man  of 
Pleasure,'  it  said,  '  the  day  of  vengeance  and  death 
is  at  hand,  and  I  must  die  among  the  Philistines. 
Would  you  ask  how  it  feels  to  be  roasted  ?  Come 
to  me;  I  am  watched  by  the  holy  police.  In  the 
name  of  the  High  God,  by  the  ashes  of  our  mur- 
dered brothers  and  sisters,  I  conjure  you  come  to 
thy  dying  Geronimo  de  Espinosa.'  There  could  be 
no  doubt  that  Geronimo  himself  had  written  the 
letter;  the  fine  straight  line  under  the  signature,  a 
sign  of  the  worship  of  the  one  true  God,  showed 
me  that  plainly,  even  if  I  had  failed  to  recognize 
the  trembling  handwriting. 

"When  I  told   my  children  of  my  intention  to 


travel  to  Seville,  I  was  weak  enough  to  be  deterred 
from  its  fulfilment  by  their  prayers  and  tears.  I 
had  almost  forgotten  poor  Geronimo,  when  a  dread- 
ful dream  reminded  me  of  him,  and  the  next  day  I 
set  out  on  my  journey. 

"  I  parted  from  my  children  with  a  beating  heart, 
telling  them  I  was  going  to  my  sister  in  Cordova. 
I  travelled  swiftly  through  Cordova,  and  passed  my 
sister's  house  unnoticed;  I  could  neither  stop  nor 
rest;  it  was  as  if  an  unseen  hand  drew  me  irresisti- 
bly onward.  I  arrived  at  Seville.  The  clock  struck 
the  hour  as  I  mounted  the  hill.  *  There  you  dwell, 
my  brilliant  Geronimo,'  I  said  to  myself,  *  and  turn 
your  footsteps  to  the  Chapel,  with  prayer  on  your 
lips  and  scorn  in  your  heart.  Is  it  not  a  tempting 
of  Providence  for  you,  at  heart  a  Jew,  to  venture 
your  person  in  the  councils  of  the  Inquisition, 
even  to  help  your  brethren  ? '  I  entered  the  chapel, 
and  knelt  till  the  mass  was  ended.  I  then  arose, 
and  looked  round  among  the  stout  or  ascetic 
devotees  again,  but  in  none  could  I  recognize  Ge- 

"  I  questioned  a  familiar;  he  said  Geronimo  had 
lain  for  weeks  between  life  and  death,  and  talked 
continually  of  Daniel  in  the  lions'  den.  He  led 
me  to  his  cell.  The  invalid  slept,  with  averted 
face;  nothing  was  to  be  seen  but  the  tonsured 
crown.  A  crucifix  hung  over  the  bed,  and  a  friar 
sat  praying  beside  him;  he  signed  to  me  to  enter 


softly.  Only  the  slight  breathing  of  the  sick  matt 
and  a  light  whisper  of  prayer  spoke  of  life  in  this 
grave-like  stillness. 

"At  last  the  sick  man  rose;  I  did  not  recognize 
him:  he  had  deep-set  eyes,  hollow  cheeks,  blue 
lips,  overhung  by  a  long  flowing  white  beard.  Ge- 
ronimo's  appearance  could  not  be  so  altered.  He 
recognized  me,  however,  immediately;  and  softly, 
with  hardly  a  movement  of  his  lips,  said,  '  Are  you 
there,  Daniel  ?  It  is  well  that  you  do  not  desert 
me;  you  need  not  be  afraid;  you  too  are  in  the 
lions*  den;  but  God  will  help  you  to  get  out,  as  he 
did  the  prophet  in  Babylon;  only  from  me  they  have 
sucked  the  blood  and  the  life:  I  cannot  get  out. 
In  truth,  you  will  not  leave  me  ?' 

"  I  had  feared  that  the  momentary  joy  of  reunion 
might  have  hastened  his  death.  I  could  hardly 
understand  him  when  he  acted  as  if  we  had  been 
long  together,  as  if  we  had  never  been  parted.  He 
signed  to  the  brother  praying  beside  him,  who  took 
his  book  under  his  arm  and  went  out.  As  he  went 
he  whispered  in  my  ear  that  I  could  ring  if  I  re- 
quired aid. 

"'Has  he  gone  ?' then  said  Geronimo.  'Come 
quick:  give  me  the  pitch-smeared  hoops  you  carry 
under  your  mantle;  I  will  hide  them  in  my  bed.  To- 
night when  they  all  sleep  we  will  burn  the  nest  over 
their  heads:  that  will  be  a  joyful  sacrifice;  the 
angels  in  heaven  will  laugh  to  see  it;  I  am  bound, 


I  cannot  get  out.  It  must  be  kindled  at  all  four 
sides  at  once;  we  must  be  quick,  or  the  Guadal- 
quivir itself  will  rise  from  its  bed  and  extinguish 
the  flames  on  the-  mount;  they  have  it  .in  pay. 
Help  me  !  the  water  takes  my  life.  Lord  God  !  I 
have  sinned,  I  have  denied  Thy  holy  name.  Once 
Thou  showedst  Thyself  in  wonders;  send  down  Thy 
lightnings,  that  they  may  destroy  me — me  also,  me 
first.     I  have  sinned,  destroy  me  !  ' 

"  He  spoke  quickly,  and  beat  his  breast  with  his 
bony  fists  till  it  resounded;  I  could  not  restrain 
him.  He  sank  back  almost  breathless;  I  feared 
that  he  would  die  then,  and  would  have  rung  the 
bell,  but  he  rose  again,  and  said,  weeping, 

"*  Come,  give  me  your  hand;  it  is  pure — pure 
from  the  blood  of  your  brethren:  it  was  at  the  sug- 
gestion of  Satan  that  I,  a  worm,  tried  to  gnaw 
through  this  giant  tree.  I  do  penance  for  my 
pride;  I  have  denied  my  God.  I  die  useless,  as  I 
have  lived  useless.  Do  you  not  see  my  father 
there  ?  He  comes  to  help  us.  Have  you  pitched 
rings  enough.  Father  ?  Do  you  hear  the  prisoners 
beneath  singing  Hallelujah?  Ah,  it  is  a  beautiful 
song:  Hallelujah,  Hallelu  El  !  We  free  you;  you 
dare  die.  Do  not  look  so  reproachful;  I  am  not  in 
fault ! ' 

"He  sank  back  again,  and  stared  at  me  with 
unearthly  glassy  eyes.  I  prayed  him,  for  God's 
sake  and  our  own,  to  be  quiet:  I  told  him  how  I 



had  come  in  obedience  to  his  letter;  he  should  be 
at  peace,  since  he  had  saved  many  lives,  and  God 
would  be  merciful,  and  look  only  at  the  heart. 

"  Then,  in  perfect  consciousness,  he  spoke  to  me 
of  his  approaching  death,  and  how  rejoiced  he  was 
at  the  thought  thereof.  A  flood  of  tears  relieved  his 
mind  of  its  heavy  load:  then  suddenly  all  was  fear- 
ful confusion  again;  he  called  for  consecrated  water 
to  soften  his  pain  on  his  heart,  that  burnt  like  hot 
iron.  *  Drink  also,-'  he  said  to  me,  '  the  holy  father 
has  blessed  it.  Bless  me  !  Father,  it  is  the  Sab- 
bath. Where  is  Mother  ?  Still  below  in  the  cellar  of 
the  synagogue.     Mother,  rise;   it  is  I,  thy  Moses.' 

"  So  he  talked,  and  I  was  dizzy  to  think  of  the 
abyss  before  which  I  stood. 

"  Evening  came,  and  Geronimo  thought  men  came 
to  put  him  in  a  dark  prison,  and  stretch  him  on  the 
rack;  groaning  painfully,  and  with  an  almost  dying 
voice,  he  cried  continually,  *  I  am  no  Jew,  I  do  not 
know  where  there  are  hidden  Jews.  Daniel,  do  not 
forsake  me;  do  not  forsake  me,  Daniel  !  *  At  last 
he  slept  again.  It  was  night;  the  full  moon  shone 
through  the  window  and  shed  its  silver  light  over 
the  sick  man.  I  prepared  for  death,  since  every 
word  of  our  conversation,  if  overheard,  would  have 
brought  me  to  a  martyr's  death;  by  good  luck,  how- 
ever, almost  the  whole  order  was  employed  in  a 
search  for  Lutherans  in  the  town.  I  prayed  to  God 
to  have  pity  on  Geronimo,  and  send  him  death. 


Children,  it  is  terrible  to  pray  for  the  death  of  a 
man,  and  that  man  the  friend  of  your  youth.  But 
why  should  this  soul  undergo  a  longer  martyrdom  ? 
It  was,  however,  otherwise  ordained;  I  must  experi- 
ence yet  more  terrible  moments. 

"I  sat  there,  sunk  in  troubled  thought,  when  a 
familiar  entered,  and  ordered  me  to  come  to  the 
Inquisitor.  My  heart  beat  loudly  as  I  entered  his 
presence;  I  threw  myself  on  my  knees,  and  asked 
his  blessing.  He  gave  it  me,  and  said:  'You  are  a 
friend  of  Geronimo.  In  that  you  are  a  good  Chris- 
tian ' — and  here  he  gave  me  a  piercing  look — 'take 
care  that  Geronimo  is  obstinate  no  longer,  but 
takes  the  Sacrament  once  more  before  he  dies;  en- 
deavor to  do  this,  and  let  me  know  immediately  ; 
he  must  not  die  thus.' 

"  I  returned  to  the  sick  man's  cell;  he  still  slept; 
I  bent  softly  over  him;  he  awoke. 

"'Come,' he  said,  rising  hastily,  'now  is  the  time. 
Look  !  Gideon  with  his  three  hundred  men  come 
also;  they  carry  the  fire-filled  pitchers  into  the 
camp  of  the  Midianites.  Hush  !  be  still  !  do  not 
blow  the  trumpets  yet.  Let  us  celebrate  High 
Mass.'  He  folded  his  hands,  and  crossed  himself 
three  times.  I  prayed,  I  implored  him,  I  wept  for 
fear,  and  conjured  him  to  be  quiet.  I  spoke  to  him 
of  our  childhood's  days,  and  how  he  himself  now 
would  murder  me,  if  he  did  not  take  the  Sacrament. 

<<  <  VVhy  do  they  not  give  it  me  ?'  he  said  quietly. 


'■  I  am  a  priest;  come,  wash  my  hands;  I  am  unclean; 
then  I  will  receive  it.' 

"  I  went  to  the  Inquisitor  and  told  him  that  Ge- 
ronimo,  though  still  confused,  himself  desired  the 
Sacrament.  The  Inquisitor  assembled  the  whole 
order,  and  as  they  carried  the  Elements  along  the 
long  corridor,  singing  the  Requiem  in  the  echoing 
hall,  Geronimo  sang  loudly  with  them,  and  even 
when  it  was  ended  he  sang  the  deprofundis  clamavi 
in  a  piercing  voice  with  folded  hands;  then  he  tore 
his  hands  asunder,  covered  his  head  with  them,  and 
sangthe  Hebrew  words:  'Holy!  Holy!  Holy!  Adonaj 
Zebaoth  !  (Jehovah,  Lord  of  Hosts  !)  Ave  Maria 
gratia  plena'  he  said  in  the  same  mechanical  tone. 
The  Inquisitor  used  the  moment  to  pass  the  Host 
to  him;  he  devoured  it,  as  if  famishing. 

"  'The  cup  !  the  cup  ! '  he  cried,  'lam  a  priest.' 
The  Inquisitor  handed  him  the  cup,  he  clasped, both 
hands  round  it,  and  began  the  Jewish  Sabbath 
blessing  over  it  ;  then  raising  himself  in  bed  with 
all  his  strength,  he  stood  in  the  full  length  of  his 
trembling  figure,  and  cried:  "On,  Gideon!  shatter 
the  pitchers  !  Fire  !  Fire  !  '  he  put  the  cup  to  his 
lips,  threw  it  at  the  wall,  so  that  it  shivered  to 
atoms,  sank  down,  and  was — dead." 

The  stranger  covered  his  eyes  with  his  hand,  and 
stood  up,  when  he  had  said  these  words.  No  one 
uttered  a  syllable,  for  who  could  enter  into  the 
unutterable  emotions  of  this  soul  ?     Each  one  feared 


by  a  sound  or  a  sigh  to  distyrb  the  deep  emotion 
of  the  other.  It  was  the  silence  of  death.  Outside 
something  tapped  as  with  ghostly  fingers  on  .the 
panes;  all  started;  the  stranger  opened  the  window; 
nothing  was  to  be  seen.  He  sat  down  again  at  the 
table,  and  continued: 

**  I  had  sunk  down  almost  unconscious  at  the 
bedside  of  Geronimo;  the  cup  with  the  spilt  wine 
lay  near  me  on  the  floor.  I  did  not  venture  to  rise, 
for  fear  my  first  glance  should  read  my  fate. 

"'Rise,'  said  a  harsh  voice  near  me.  I  rose;  the 
Inquisitor  stood  before  me,  not  another  monk  was 

"'What  is  your  name  ?'  he  asked  me  sternly.  I 
was  in  painful  uncertainty;  should  I  give  my  real 
name,  or  not  ?  but  perhaps  he  had  already  seen  it, 
and  a  lie  would  make  my  death  doubly  certain.  I 
told  the  truth;  he  asked  for  a  guarantee. 

"'No  one  knows  me  here,'  I  answered,  'but  my 
brother-in-law,  Don  Juan  Malveda  in  Cordova;  he 
can  bear  me  witness  that  the  Casseres,  in  whose 
house  at  Segovia  the  first  sitting  of  the  Inquisition 
was  held,  was  my  ancestor.'  I  yet  wonder  at  the 
courage  with  which  I  spoke  to  the  Inquisitor  in 
this  decisive  moment.  '  Swear  to  me,'  he  said  after 
a  long  and  painful  pause.  '  No,  swear  not,  but  if 
you  let  one  syllable  of  what  you  have  seen  here 
pass  your  lips,  you  and  your  two  children  die 
the  death  by  fire.     You  are  in   my  power;  I  hold 



you  in  unseen  bonds,  from  which  you  cannot  run 

"  He  then  ordered  a  familiar  to  conduct  me  from 
the  Castle. 

'^  If  we  take  the  history  of  the  prophet  Jonah  lit- 
erally, his  feelings  must  have  been  like  mine  when 
he  was  thrown  out  by  the  sea  monster.  I  thought 
I  continually  heard  the  dreadful  Requiem,  though 
all  around  was  as  still  as  death.  Everything  looked 
so  unearthly,  so  strange;  every  bush  that  trembled 
in  the  moonlight  seemed  to  beckon  to  me  to  has- 
ten on. 

^'  I  was  hardly  capable  of  thought,  through  wear- 
iness and  fear;  and  nowhere  in  that  wide  country 
was  there  a  soul  in  whom  I  could  trust. 

"I  looked  up  at  the  myriad  host  of  stars;  their 
celestial  light  shone  comfortingly  on  my  heart.  God, 
the  God  of  Hosts,  watched  over  me;  my  whole  soul 
was  a  prayer;  He  answered  it. 

"  I  reached  my  inn,  saddled  my  horse,  and  rode 
as  on  the  wings  of  the  wind. 

"  The  moon  disappeared  behind  clouds,  and  only 
the  pale  light  of  stars, shone  on  my  lonely  path. 
The  horse  seemed  as  if  he  too  were  driven  by  an 
unseen  lash;  he  rushed  irresistibly  over  hill  and 
dale,  and  snorted  with  fear.  Perhaps,  thought  I, 
the  soul  of  some  grim  enemy  of  the  Jews,  perhaps 
that  of  a  dead  Grand  Inquisitor,  has  entered  this 
animal,  and  is  now  condemned  to  bear  me  through 


the  night  and  save  me  from  my  enemies.  Often, 
when  he  turned  his  head  and  looked  at  me  with 
his  fiery  eyes,  it  seemed  to  say  to  me,  '  Do  I  not 
suffer  enough  for  my  earlier  life  ? ' 

"  I  feared  even  my  own  shadow  that  danced  over 
rock  and  stone,  and  I  drove  the  sharp  spurs  still 
harder  into  the  ribs  of  my  steed. 

"  You,  who  have  grown  up  and  lived  in  freedom, 
you  cannot  know  what  a  confusion  is  life  in  such 
moments;  the  earth  is  no  longer  firm,  the  heavens 
disappear,  and  whatever  has  been  heard  of  the  fear- 
ful and  supernatural  awakes  anew.  Anything  super- 
natural, if  it  appeared,  would  be  regarded  without 
astonishment,  for  everything  has  become  supernat- 
ural, incomprehensible,  our  own  life  most  of  all. 
Wearied  out,  I  arrived  at  my  sister's  in  Cordova, 
and  first  imparted  to  her  the  terrible  fear  that 
hardly  let  me  breathe  freely. 

"  When  I  went  to  my  horse  next  morning  in  his 
stall,  he  lay  dead;  his  great  eyes  gazed  at  me  as 
strangely  as  on  the  previous  evening. 

"  With  a  fresh  Andalusian  horse  of  my  brother- 
in-law's  I  set  forward  on  my  journey.  I  took  leave 
of  my  sister,  but  durst  not  tell  her  that  I  saw  her 
for  the  last  time. 

"  When  I  arrived  at  home  the  old  rest  and  tran- 
quillity had  disappeared  from  the  house.  In  each 
friend  who  bade  me  heartily  welcome,  in  each 
stranger  whom  I  saw  in  the  streets,  I  imagined  a 


messenger  from  the  band  of  murderers  who  called 
themselves  a  tribunal.  Each  one,  I  thought,  would 
throw  back  his  mantle  and  disclose  the  blood-red  I 
on  his  breast.  The  old  freedom  from  care  had  dis- 
appeared; I  knew  only  fear  and  mistrust.  Waking 
and  sleeping,  the  figure  of  Geronimo  was  before 
me;  'you  too,  you  too,'  it  said  to  me,  'may  die  such 
a  death;  deserted  by  the  faith  that  was  a  plaything 
of  thy  cowardice;  tossed  hopelessly  betwixt  truth 
and  lies.'  I  sold  all  my  goods,  and  not  without 
great  danger — for  you  know  no  one  is  allowed  to 
leave  Spain  without  special  permission  from  the 
king — was  with  God's  help  free.  I  sent  my  children 
out  of  the  country  by  different  ways;  they  have 
remained  in  Leyden.  If  God  preserves  my  life,  I 
will  bring  them  here  next  week.  If  I  should  relate 
all  that  I  suffered  till  I  arrived  here,  it  would  keep 
us  till  the  morrow,  and  I  should  not  have  told  a 
tenth  part;  but  it  is  already  late,  and  if  it  pleases 
God,  we  shall  remain  longer  together." 

"  Yes,  the  lights  are  already  burnt  out,  and  to- 
morrow is  the  sixth  lyar;  we  must  rise  early,  so  we 
will,  in  God's  name,  retire."  So  spake  the  father, 
and  they  all  parted. 

Pleasant  as  a  Jewish  house  is  on  Friday  evening 
in  the  festive  hour,  as  weird  and  strange  is  it  at  the 
time  of  separation.  The  seven  lights  burn  alone 
in  the  empty  sitting-room,  and  it  is  a  strange  sen- 
sation to  imagine  it  as  light  after  light  burns  out; 


for  the  law  forbids  a  light  to  be  extinguished  or  lit 
on  the  Sabbath,  or  taken  in  the  hand. 

In  the  corner  house  on  the  wall,  each  one  went  to 
rest  in  darkness,  and  each  one  was  followed  by  some 
figure  of  terror  from  the  narrative  of  the  stranger 
guest.  Old  Chaje  had  already  been  long  asleep, 
and  dreamt  of  Miriam's  wedding,  and  what  an  im- 
portant part  she  would  play  therein,  when  her  com- 
panion in  the  apartment,  Miriam,  entered  and  awoke 
her  with  a  cry  and  a  shake.  "  What  is  the  matter  ? 
what  is  it  ?"  said  Chaje,  rubbing  her  eyes. 

"  You  snored  so,  and  talked  in  your  sleep,  that  I 
was  frightened,"  replied  Miriam.  It  was,  in  truth, 
another  fear  that  made  her  a  disturber  of  sleep. 
In  the  thick  darkness  she  expected  the  spirit  of  her 
uncle  to  glide  before  her  each  moment,  and  wished 
to  banish  the  fear  by  conversation.  Chaje  related 
her  dream,  and  what  a  pity  it  was  that  she  had  been 
awakened;  her  mouth  watered  yet  for  the  good 
things  that  she  had  enjoyed  at  the  wedding;  she  had 
been  seated  near  the  bridegroom,  with  her  gold 
chain  and  her  red  silk  dress  on. 

"  You  may  laugh,"  said  she,  "  for  what  one  dreams 
on  Friday  night  comes  as  certainly  true  as  that  it  is 
now  Sabbath  all  over  the  world." 

Miriam  was  glad  to  find  Chaje  so  talkative,  her 
ghostly  fears  began  to  fade.  "  What  did  my  bride- 
groom look  like  ?"  she  asked,  as  she  laid  her  head 
on  the  pillow.     But  that  Chaje  unluckily  did  not 



know;  what  he  wore,  and  what  he  said  to  her,  she 
could  tell  to  a  hair.  She  talked  long  after  Miriam 
was  asleep.  It  could  not  be  ghosts  of  which  she 
was  dreaming,  for  when  she  awoke  in  the  morning 
she  drew  the  coverlet  over  her,  shut  her  eyes,  and 
tried  to  dream  again. 

Baruch  did  not  awake  so  pleasantly.  He  too  went 
to  his  chamber  with  a  beating  heart.  It  was  not 
the  ghost  of  his  uncle  that  appeared  to  him  in  the 
darkness,  but  yet  he  was  present  to  his  thoughts. 
A  restless  spirit  filled  him  with  horror,  and  op- 
pressed his  soul.  With  a  loud  voice,  and  out  of  the 
depth  of  his  heart,  Baruch  said  the  evening  prayer, 
and  laid  emphasis  on  the  conjuration,  which  he 
thrice  repeated.  "  In  the  name  of  Adonaj  (Jehovah), 
the  God  of  Israel,  with  Michael  on  the  right,  with 
Gabriel  on  the  left,  before  me  Uriel,  behind  me 
Raphael,  and  at  my  head  Schechinath-El  (the  Holy 
Ghost)" — he  hid  his  face  in  the  pillow,  closed  his 
eyes,  but  it  was  long  before  sleep  settled  on  them; 
he  was  too  deeply  agitated.  He  had  slept  but  a 
few  hours  when  his  father  woke  him  from  a  feverish 
dream,  for  it  was  time  to  go  to  the  synagogue. 




ALIGHT  mist  Still  hung  over  the  streets  of  Am- 
sterdam; the  golden  letters  of  the  words  ^pj;** 
n'«:^  (the  House  of  Jacob)  over  the  door  of  the 
synagogue  on  the  town  wall  shone  but  dimly,  but 
already  a  great  many  men  and  women  crowded 
through  the  seven  columns  that  adorned  the  vesti- 
bule of  the  synagogue.  Baruch,  his  father,  and 
the  stranger  were  there.  On  entering  the  inner 
door,  each  stepped  before  one  of  the  two  huge 
marble  basins  that  stood  beside  each  door-post, 
turned  on  the  brass  tap  and  washed  his  hands. 
Baruch  observed  the  rule  of  the  Talmud,  to  wash 
the  right  hand  first.  Then  they  descended  the 
three  steps.  Every  synagogue  must  be  below 
ground,  for  it  is  written:  "Out  of  the  depths  have 
I  cried  unto  thee,  O  Lord!"  (Ps.  cxxx.  i.)  Each  one 
of  those  present  placed  over  his  shoulders  a  large 
woollen  cloth,  with  three  blue  stripes  at  the  ends, 
and  tassels  hanging  from  the  four  corners;  the  most 
pious,  Baruch  among  them,  covered  their  hats  with 
it.  "  How  lovely  are  thy  tents,  O  Jacob!  thy  dwell- 
ings, O  Israel!'*  sang  a  well-trained  choir  of  boys; 
and  here  these  words  did  not  sound  ironical,  for  the 


simply  built  interior  of  the  building  was  beautifully 
ornamented.  At  the  upper  end,  on  the  side  towards 
the  east,  where  once  the  holy  temple  of  Jerusalem 
stood,  towards  which  the  Jew  turns  to  pray,  the 
tables  on  which  were  engraved  the  ten  command- 
ments were  supported  by  two  stone  lions.  They 
stood  above  the  sacred  ark,  and  around  it,  in  a  half 
circle,  almond  and  lemon  trees  bloomed  in  orna- 
mental pots.  For  yearly,  since  they  had  been  driven 
out  of  their  Spanish  home,  they  sent  to  the  Catholic 
Peninsula  for  trees  planted  in  the  earth  from  which 
they  had  sprung,  wherewith  to  decorate  the  syna- 
gogue, that  for  some  few  hours  they  might  dream 
themselves  back  into  the  well-known  plains. 

The  long  opening  prayer,  spoken  aloud  by  the 
choir-leader,  gave  all  leisure  enough  for  observa- 
tion; but  when  at  last  the  "Statutes  of  Israel" 
(Deut.  vi.  5)  began,  all  joined  in  with  a  loud  voice. 
It  was  by  no  means  harmonious;  the  whole  build- 
ing echoed  with  the  wild  war-cry, — for  what  was  it 
but  a  war-cry,  with  which  they  had  conquered  life 
and  death  a  thousand  times  ? — "  Hear,  O  Israel  ! 
The  Lord  our  God  is  one  Lord  !"  The  soul  of  each 
would  enter  by  force  the  impenetrable  first  cause  of 
the  existence  of  God.  Baruch,  too,  closed  his  eye- 
lids fast,  and  clasped  his  hands,  his  nerves  thrilling 
in  ecstasy,  his  whole  consciousness,  with  its  long- 
ings towards  that  other  world,  drawn  upward  to 
the  rays  concentrated  in  that  one  point  of  light 



where  it  found  itself  in  God.  With  upturned 
glance,  as  in  the  writings  of  the  wise  of  old,  he  saw 
all  the  dangers  of  the  waters  of  death  before  his 
eyes,  that  he  would  so  readily  have  gone  through 
for  his  faith  in  the  unity  of  his  God.  His  whole 
soul,  thus  elevated,  felt  refreshed  as  with  heavenly 

The  first  prayer  was  ended;  the  folding  doors  of 
the  sacred  ark  were  opened  on  a  glistening  array 
of  rolls  of  the  law  bound  in  cloth  of  gold,  and 
ornamented  with  gold  plate  and  jewels,  that  drew 
all  eyes  to  the  holy  place,  where  the  three  most 
prominent  men  of  the  congregation  read  alternately 
the  names  of  the  towns  and  lands  in  which  faith- 
ful Jews  had  suffered  a  martyr's  death;  the  most 
worthy  of  these  martyrs  were  enumerated  and  read 
out  at  the  conclusion  of  the  death-roll  of  the  pre- 
ceding year.  Rachel  Spinoza  was  among  the  first 
of  these;  her  name  was  said  with  a  blessing,  and 
the  pious  legacies  mentioned,  which  she  had  left 
for  prizes  in  the  Talmud  school,  "  Crown  of  the 
Law."  Baruch  looked  sadly  at  his  father;  for  with 
the  sacred  memory  of  his  mother  was  mingled  the 
enigmatical  mention  of  her  Moorish  origin. 

The  sacred  ark  was  again  closed,  and  Rabbi 
Isaak  Aboab  advanced  to  the  altar  in  the  midst  of 
the  synagogue.  He  was  a  thin  little  man,  marked 
with  small-pox,  with  a  high  forehead  and  prominent 
gray  eyes,  and  a  red  beard  on   cheek  and   chin. 


"Yea,  though  I  walk  through  the  valley  of  the 
shadow  of  death,  I  will  fear  no  evil':  for  thou  art 
with  me;  thy  rod  and  thy  staff,  they  comfort  me" 
(Ps.  xxiii.  3),  he  repeated  in  a  harsh  voice.  The 
corresponding  text  was  added  from  the  Talmud; 
and  further,  this  choice  explanation  of  the  expres- 
sion "thy  rod  and  thy  staff,"  that  by  "rod"  the 
written  and  by  "  staff "  the  spoken  law  was  under- 
stood. The  preacher  then  descended  to  his  audi- 
ence: "  The  living  buried  in  a  dungeon  bemoans  his 
life;  the  unkempt  hair  of  his  head  is  his  only  pillow; 
whether  it  be  day  or  night,  whether  spring  blos- 
soms, or  the  autumn  winds  pluck  the  yellow  leaves 
from  the  trees,  he  knows  not;  dust  and  darkness 
surround  him,  but  in  his  heart  are  light  and  joyous 
day,  for  God  dwells  therein.  In  his  loneliness  an 
innumerable  host  of  angels  hover  round  him,  who 
bear  him  away  out  of  the  hard  prison-walls,  far 
away,  over  the  world  to  the  throne  of  God,  where 
he  rests  in  prayer." 

All  the  grades  of  torture  the  Rabbi  described  to 
his  hearers,  to  the  most  extreme  degree,  when  by 
dropping  of  water  on  the  top  of  the  spine  the 
nerves  of  the  brain  itself  are  weakened. 

"Woe!"  he  cried;  "our  eyes  have  seen  the  in- 
describable afflictions  with  which  the  Lord  menaces 
us.  No.  Let  us  not  cry  Woe,  but  Praise  and 
Thanks  to  Him  who  has  lifted  them  all  to  a  pas- 
turage in  the  glorious  light  of  His  Majesty!"      The 



translator  of  Erira's  "  Doors  of  Heaven"  here  de- 
scribed the  joys  of  everlasting  felicity  in  all  their 
exceeding  glory,  and  praised  that  doctrine  before 
which  the  angels  bow  themselves,  and  the  Uni- 
verse trembles;  he  described  that  absorption  of 
self  in  the  teachings  of  God  and  his  creation,  which, 
to  him  whose  inmost  heart  is  so  absorbed,  gives 
heavenly  blessedness  even  here,  and  lends  power  to 
create  and  to  destroy.  With  the  usual  conclusion, 
that  God  would  soon  send  his  Messiah,  and  restore 
Israel  to  his  inheritance,  he  finished  his  discourse. 

Rabbi  Saul  Morteira,  whose  tall,  well-covered  per- 
son we  have  already  encountered  on  the  previous 
day,  advanced  next  to  the  altar.  "  He  will  swallow 
up  death  in  victory;  and  the  Lord  God  will  wipe 
away  tears  from  off  all  faces;  and  the  rebuke  of  his 
people  shall  he  take  away  from  off  all  the  earth" 
(Is.  XXV.  8),  he  began  in  a  low  voice.  "  I  look  round 
on  this  assembly,  and  again  a  year  has  thinned  its 
ranks;  another  year  will  come,  and  with  it  this  day 
of  mourning  and  of  rejoicing;  and  many  of  us  will 
then  have  vanished  from  our  places;  perhaps  I 
also  !  *  I  also,  O  Lord  !  here  am  I,'  I  answer,  if  thou 
callest  to  me."  With  these  words  the  Rabbi  beat 
his  breast  with  both  hands  till  his  voice  trembled. 
He  spoke  at  greater  length  on  the  suddenness  of 
death,  and  the  grief  of  the  survivors;  half-stifled 
sobs  were  heard  from  the  trellised  gallery  of  the 
women,  and   here  and  there  among  the  men;  only 


a  few,  who  thought  a  funeral  oration  on  the  Sab- 
bath unlawful,  remained  unmoved. 

Baruch,  too,  stood  with  tears  shining  in  his  eyes 
— tears  of  longing;  he  felt  God  to  be  so  near,  so 
familiar,  that  he  wished  to  die,  and  never  more  to 
be  separated  from  him.  "  Check  the  sigh  that  would 
raise  thy  breast,  for  God  the  Lord  wipes  the  tear 
from  every  eye,"  cried  the  Rabbi.  From  the  appli- 
cation of  his  text  to  the  fate  of  the  individual  he 
turned  to  that  of  Israel. 

"  For  the  Lord  will  wipe  the  disgrace  of  his  peo- 
ple from  off  the  face  of  the  earth;  but  only  those 
who  have  guarded  his  word  in  their  hearts  dare  de- 
mand the  fulfilment  of  his  promise."  The  preacher 
added  to  these  words  an  ingenious  but  plain  and 
sharp  argument  against  Christianity.  With  bitter 
zeal  he  railed  against  the  subtilizing  intellect  of 
man,  that  aspired  even  to  explain  the  immeasur- 

"  In  the  Talmud  tractate  Chulin  it  is  related  that 
*the  Emperor  Hadrian  desired  once  of  Rabbi 
Jehosuah  that  he  should  show  him  the  Uncreated 
One,  or  else  he  would  esteem  his  learning  and  faith 
as  naught.  It  was  a  hot  summer-day;  the  Rabbi 
led  the  Emperor  out  into  the  open  air.  *  Look  at 
the  sun,'  he  said  to  the  Prince.  *I  cannot,'  he  re- 
plied; '  it  dazzles  my  eyes.'  *  Son  of  Dust ! '  said  the 
Rabbi,  'the  rays  of  one  single  creation  thou  canst 
not  endure;  how  couldst  thou  see  the  Creator?'" 


So  spake  the  preacher,  and  concluded  his  par- 
ables from  the  Talmud  with  the  one  (well  known 
to  readers  of  the  New  Testament,  here  slightly- 
altered)  on  the  laborers  in  the  vineyard,  and  the 
one  of  those  prudent  and  foolish  ones  who  awaited 
the  coming  of  the  Saviour.  He  mingled  amusing 
anecdotes  with  his  sermon,  raising  thereby  an  in- 
voluntary laugh  among  his  audience.  The  church 
and  its  servants  did  not  then  stand  in  their  present 
frosty  and  oracular  relation  to  the  lay  members. 
The  Jewish  Church  especially,  which  both  could 
and  must  offer  all  things  to  all  men,  did  not  re- 
frain from  godly  jokes.  An  amused  expression  of 
interest  spread  over  the  faces  of  all  when  the  Rabbi 
concluded;  here  and  there  men  turned  to  their 
neighbors,  and  gave  vent  to  their  approval  by  gest- 
ures or  exclamations.  There  are  some  Jews  not 
sufficiently  objective  to  abstract  their  attention 
from  self  enough  to  measure  everything,  even  the 
words  of  their  teacher,  by  the  measure  of  the  re- 
vealed law  or  their  own  reason.  To  these,  there- 
fore, it  was  no  pleasure  to  hear  yet  another  dis- 
course; for  now  a  man  of  compact  figure  and 
polished  worldly  address  had  taken  the  deserted 
place  of  Rabbi  Saul  Morteira. 

It  was  that  man  of  incomparable  precocity  and 
universality  of  genius,  who,  already  a  Rabbi  in  his 
eighteenth  year,  afterwards  physician  and  states- 
man,   had    entered    into   controversy   with    Hugo 


Grotius  on  the  beauties  of  the  Idyllic  poetry  of 
Theocritus,  and  with  Rabbi  Isaak  Aboab  on  the 
mixture  of  metals  in  the  image  of  Nebuchadnezzar. 
It  was  Rabbi  Manasseh  ben  Israel,  whose  wife,  a 
grand-daughter  of  the  renowned  Don  Isaak  Abra- 
banel,  derived  her  lineage  in  direct  line  from  David, 
King  of  Israel. 

For  some  seconds  Rabbi  Manasseh  covered  his 
eyes  with  his  left  hand,  then  began  with  a  powerful 
voice  that  reached  all  corners  of  the  synagogue: 

"  'O  house  of  Jacob  !  come  ye,  and  let  us  walk  in 
the  light  of  the  Lord.'  The  day  is  again  returned 
on  which  we  consecrated  this  house  that  we  built 
unto  the  Lord,  for  He  allowed  us  here  to  find  a 
refuge  from  the  hands  of  our  persecutors;  but  not 
by  the  strength  of  our  hands  have  we  obtained  it. 
If  God  build  not  the  house,  vain  is  the  toil  of  the 
laborer.  We  have  built  a  house  here  unto  the 
Lord;  oh  that  the  walls  would  expand  and  rise,  as 
far  as  the  heavens  are  stretched  above  the  earth; 
and  that  my  voice  would  fill  the  whole  world,  that 
I  might  awake  the  echoes  with  thunders,  and  lay 
in  their  mouths  these  words,  that  one  echo  might 
call  them  unto  another.  ^  O  house  of  Jacob  !  come 
ye,  and  let  us  walk  in  the  light  of  the  Lord '  (Is. 
ii.  5).  I  myself,  you  all  know,  I  had  an  enlightened 
father;  he  suffered  martyrdom,  and  saved  naught 
but  bare  life  from  the  hands  of  those  who  call 
themselves  Christians:   but   let  us  not   look   back 



into  the  dim  dungeon,  but  gaze  on  the  light  that 
streams  on  us  from  all  quarters." 

The  author  of  the  book  on  the  "  Salvation  of  Is- 
rael" continued  in  spirited  language,  though  often 
in  ambiguous  and  superfine  phraseology,  his  ad- 
dress on  the  necessity  that  the  JeWs  should  join  in 
the  universal  striving  towards  the  higher  develop- 
ment of  the  age.  By  the  "  Light  of  the  Lord"  he 
understood  the  classics  not  less  than  the  teachings 
of  Moses.  (  He  railed  against  the  Polish  Jews, 
whose  obscure  customs  and  debased  position  he 
ascribed  principally  to  their  want  of  solid  learning; 
at  last  he  rejoiced  his  hearers  with  an  *'  Amen.'l 

A  roll  of  the  law  was  then  taken  from  the  ark 
amid  songs  of  praise.  When  it  was  handed  to 
Baruch,  he  took  the  edge  of  the  cloth  of  gold  in 
which  it  was  wrapped,  and  pressed  it  fervently  to 
his  lips. 

The  Thora  was  unrolled  on  the  altar,  and  at 
each  extract  that  was  read  out  one  of  the  three 
preachers  was  called  upon  to  say  the  blessing 

At  the  fourth  extract  the  reader  raised  his  voice 
and  cried:  "  Rise,  our  teacher  and  master,  Rabbi 
Baruch  Ben  Benjamin  !"  Baruch  Spinoza,  who 
was  called  to  the  Thora  by  this  title  of  honor,  was 
fiery  red;  he  left  his  seat  and  repaired  to  the  altar, 
where  he  read  the  blessing  in  a  trembling  voice. 
Every  one  in   the  synagogue  wondered  at  so  un- 


precedented  a  case  as  for  a  youth  of  fifteen  to 
attain  to  such  an  honor;  a  few  only  there  were 
who  thought  it  misplaced,  for  Baruch  was  beloved 
of  all  who  knew  him.  With  the  long,  so-called 
Mussaph  (additional  prayer)  and  some  concluding 
prayers  the  service  was  ended. 



AT  the  door  the  throng  was  great.  Every  one 
congratulated  Baruch  and  his  father  on  the 
honor  that  had  befallen  them. 

"  Certainly,"  said  the  father  to  his  son  on  their 
homeward  way,  "  the  discourses  have  lasted  over 
long  to-day;  the  preachers  should  consider  that 
they  preach  to  empty  stomachs  (for  no  one  must 
taste  food  before  morning  service).  Let  it  be  a 
warning  to  you  never  to  preach  too  long.  Are  you 
pleased  ?" 

"I  am  confused,"  answered  Baruch,  "with  my 
rise  to  such  a  height;  I  am  too  weak." 

"God  keep  you  in  that  mind,'*  said  his  father 
approvingly.  "  Well-balanced  natures  are  easily 
abashed  at  the  honors  assigned  to  them.  Trust 
in  God  who  has  chosen  you  out;  he  will  give  you 
strength  to  fulfil  your  vocation;  only  say  to  your- 
self you  are  chosen  for  it,  because  you  have  the 
strength  to  fulfil  it." 

On  the  threshold  of  their  home,  the  father,  as 
on  the  previous  evening,  laid  his  hands  on  his  son's 



head,  and  blessed  him  thus:  "The  Lord  make  thee 
like  unto  Ephraim  and  Manasseh." 

Miriam  stood  on  the  step,  and  gave  Baruch  a 
parchment  that  Rabbi  Saul  Morteira  had  sent.  It 
was  his  diploma  as  Rabbi. 

The  father  then  opened  his  plate  chest,  and  chose 
out  his  heaviest  gilt  goblet,  to  send  it  to  the  teacher 
some  other  day. 

Baruch  from  that  time  was  qualified  to  prefix  the 
title  of  Rabbi  to  his  name. 

He  felt  a  strange  shock  whenever  visitors  ad- 
dressed him  by  the  title:  it  seemed  to  him  as  if  he 
wore  an  unseen  crown  on.  his  head.  Soon,  how^ 
ever,  this  exaltation  of  mind  was  disturbed  by  inner 
confusion,  that  henceforth  augmented  with  ever 
increasing  force. 

Baruch  now  belonged  to  the  qualified  guardians 
of  the  law;  and  it  was  not  mere  modesty  when  he 
protested  to  his  congratulators  that  he  felt  too 
weak  for  the  burden  imposed  on  him.  Was  it  the 
shiver  of  weakness  that  overtakes  those  who  have 
attained  the  goal  long  earnestly  striven  for  t 

What  jealous  demons  would  raise  such  inward 
doubts  ?  Formerly  they  made  themselves  known 
but  fleetingly,  and  were  easily  conquered;  but  now 
new  ones  too,  unthought  of  before,  forced  them- 
selves into  notice,  and  mocked  his  honors. 

Baruch  seemed  often  lost  in  them.  The  ghost  of 
Geronimo,  the  man  with  the  double  life,  that  h^d 



not  appeared  to  him  in  the  night,  appeared  to  him 
now  in  full  daylight,  seizing  on  him  at  every 

At  table,  where  every  one  drank  Baruch's  health 
and  every  one  thought  of  him,  he  regained  his 
spirits  and  joined  in  the  festivity. 

In  the  afternoon,  as  he  read  the  extracts  for 
the  day  of  the  week,  and  the  commentary  on  them, 
he  was  again  aware  that  only  lips  and  eyes  were 
reading;  his  mind  was  not  there.  He  spurned  the 
contrary  spirit  in  him,  and  fervently  prayed  to  God 
to  stand  by  him,  and  help  and  strengthen  his  faith. 
Tears  fell  on  the  open  book;  they  softened  the 
anguish  of  his  heart.  In  a  clear,  firm  voice,  as  if 
he  would  proclaim  them  to  a  congregation,  he  read 
out  the  words  of  the  law,  and  by  this  invocation 
banished  the  demons  from  his  heart,  and  a  happy 
animation  pervaded  his  being. 

His  father  came,  and  sat  quietly  beside  him 
awhile;   then  said,  closing  the  book: 

**  Baruch  may  now  be  less  diligent,  he  has  at- 
tained to  the  highest  honor  in  his  youth;  he  must 
now  take  pains  to  strengthen  his  body." 

Baruch  kissed  the  book  again,  and  placed  it  on 
the  shelf,  then  warmly  clasped  his  father's  hand. 

"O  my  son!"  began  his  father  again,  "your 
honor  is  sevenfold  my  own;  you  cannot  realize  it. 
May  you  one  day  experience  the  like  !  Naught  is 
like   unto  the  blessedness  of  the  father  who  him- 



self  strives  after  an  honor,  and  then  sees  his  son 
attain  to  it;  my  happiness  and  joy  rest  on  your 
head,  are  yours,  and  yet  more  than  mine,  better 
than  mine.  I  see  the  time  of  the  Messiah  before 
me;  I  know  now  how  it  must  be  to  the  Father's 
heart  to  call  his  Son  the  Saviour.  God  pardon 
me,  my  heart  is  so  overfull !  I  should  not  say  so 
to  you,  but  you  may  thus  know  how  blessed  you 
make  me.  My  last  brother  is  dead;  that  wound  is 
healed  with  heavenly  balm:  you  are  my  son,  and 
brother  also." 

Baruch  had  never  seen  his  father  so  agitated; 
with  humble  looks  he  gazed  at  his  flashing  eyes. 
The  souls  of  father  and  son  found  peace  in  com- 
munion. The  father  covered  his  brow  with  one 
hand,  and  after  a  pause  said  in  a  quiet  tone: 

"  Have  you  no  wish,  Baruch  ?  Speak  out;  I 
would  willingly  reward  you  for  the  joy  with  which 
you  have  animated  my  heart." 

It  was  a  singular  return  to  the  common  world, 
and  only  because  the  desire  was  habitual  to  him 
Baruch  said: 

"  Let  me  at  last  learn  the  language  of  all  secular 
learning — Latin.  Why  should  I  know  less  than  my 
schoolfellows  Isaak  Pinhero,  Ahron  de  Silva,  and 
many  others  ?" 

"  Yes,  I  will  grant  your  request.  God,  the  All- 
good,  who  has  led  you  hitherto,  will  guard  you 
further,  that   you    may  drink    in    no    poison   from 


Such  writings.  And  now,  have  you  no  other 
wish  ?" 

"  Is  it  true,"  said  Baruch,  looking  at  the  ground 
and  blushing,  "  is  it  true  what  Rodrigo  Casseres 
said  yesterday  evening  about  the  Moorish  origin  of 
my  mother  ? — blessed  be  her  memory!  Did  I  wrong 
Chisdai  Astruk  when  I  struck  him  in  the  face  a 
year  ago  because  he  mocked  me  with  it  ?" 

The  father's  face  changed  suddenly  at  these  words, 
he  gazed  before  him,  and  pressed  his  lips  together: 
at  last  he  took  a  key  from  his  pocket,  opened  a 
chest,  and  took  out  the  death-gear  that  every  pious 
Jew  keeps  ready,  unrolled  them,  until  he  found  a 
paper;  this  he  handed  to  Baruch  with  these  words: 

"Take  and  read  it;  you  have  heard  of  the  death 
of  my  brother;  you  are  the  heir  of  all  our  traditions. 
Remember  that.  These  words  should  have  been 
yours  when  my  mouth  was  mute,  but  it  is  better  so. 
You  are  strong  enough." 

The  father  pushed  the  writing  towards  him  with 
a  trembling  hand,  and  left  the  room  to  go  with  his 
guest  to  the  harbor,  the  so-called  Buitenkant,  where 
the  monotonous  cry  of  the  sailors  echoed  across  the 
water,  and  his  co-religionists  passing  in  the  enjoy- 
ment of  the  Sabbath  repeatedly  congratulated  the 
happy  father.  He  showed  his  guest  the  verdure  of 
the  reclaimed  marshes;  and  to-day  a  certain  pride 
in  his  new  home,  and  in  its  position  gained  by  un- 
remitting energy,  arose  in  him. 



As  he  showed  his  friend  the  water-working  wind* 
mills,  and  explained  the  plan  of  the  dykes  and 
dams,  and  how  each  piece  of  fruitful  land  had  its 
history,  his  hearer  looked  on  in  astonished  sym- 

This  man,  who  now  first  saw  himself  openly  join- 
ing in  the  faith  of  his  fathers,  must  have  followed  a 
devotional  train  of  thought,  for  he  said: 

*'  In  these  Netherlands  our  God  seems  a  second 
time  to  have  miraculously  dried  up  the  sea,  for  the 
salvation  of  his  people  Israel.  He  has  not  done  it 
by  supernatural  means,  but  taught  his  power  to 

Meanwhile  Baruch  sat  in  his  chamber  and  read: 



WHEN  these  words  come  into  your  hands,  my 
mouth  will  be  mute,  my  soul  again  with  her 
to  whom  it  ever  belonged,  and  of  whom  I  am  now 
about  to  tell  you 

My  whole  youth  rises  before  me,  my  cheeks  burn; 
from  scorn  and  lies  I  have  won  a  blessed  life. 

Give  heed. 

I  was  twenty  years  old  the  spring  when  I  trav- 
elled to  Seville  to  visit  my  brother  Moses,  called 
Geronimo,  in  his  monastery.  I  say  I  was  twenty 
years  of  age;  but  I  knew  men,  and  their  dishonest 
ways.  Misfortune  and  deceit  age  men  before  their 
time  and  teach  them  experience.  I  arrived  in  Se- 
ville. My  brother  received  me  with  cruel  coldness, 
hardly  giving  me  his  hand  through  the  bars  of  the 
grating  in  the  monastery  parlor.  ''Son  of  earth,  I 
have  naught  in  common  with  thee;  what  wouldst 
thou  with  me  ?"  he  exclaimed. 

Such  a  reception  did  not  attract  me  to  him.  I 
had  business  for  some  weeks  in  the  town  and  neigh- 
borhood. I  remained,  therefore,  a  week  in  Seville, 
without  seeing  my  brother  again. 

In  the  gay  companionship  of  Lindos  and  Majos  I 


passed  many  careless  hours  of  pleasure,  but  the 
thought  of  the  fate  of  the  flower  of  our  faith  in 
Seville  was  too  grimly  earnest  to  be  forgotten.  I 
visited  the  graveyard  before  the  Minjoar  gate,  de- 
stroyed five-and- twenty  years  ago:  there  the  bones 
of  the  great  men  of  Israel  once  rested;  there  once 
stood  the  noble  monument  of  our  ancestor,  of  the 
great  Rabbi  Baruch  de  Espinosa,  whose  name  you 
bear;  but  nothing  was  to  be  seen,  not  a  single  in- 
scription marked  the  spot  wherein  the  bones  of  the 
noble  man  had  been  laid;  even  in  the  grave  Spain 
had  denied  them  rest,  and  searched  it  for  gold, 
silver,  and  unholy  books. 

One  day  an  irrepressible  inclination  (after  what 
resulted,  I  must  needs  call  it  an  inspiration)  made 
me  revisit  my  unnatural  priestly  brother. 

As  if  I  were  mounting  the  holy  hill  of  Zion, 
where  once  was  enthroned  the  glory  of  God,  I  made 
my  way  with  equal  joy  towards  the  Castle  of  Triana, 
where  priests  reigned  in  the  name  of  the  Creator. 
I  could  neither  account  for  my  joy  nor  control  it. 

As  T  entered  the  parlor  I  was  met  by  a  sobbing 
maiden,  who  left  the  room  with  veiled  face. 

"Sefiora,"  said  I,  "do  you  need  a  protector,  and 
dare  I — "  I  could  not  finish  the  sentence;  the  maiden 
raised  her  brilliant  black  eyes,  a  tear  dropped  from 
the  long  lashes,  she  shook  her  head  slightly  in  denial, 
and  went  out. 

I  was  led  to  my  brother's  cell  by  a  familiar.     He 



convulsively  clasped  my  hand,  and  when  the  fa- 
miliar left  the  cell,  fell  on  my  neck  weeping. 

"  Benjamin,  my  brother,  it  is  thou,  indeed;  but  I 
am  no  Joseph:  I  have  sold  myself.  But  no  !  no  !  I 
will  be  quiet.  See  !  it  is  just  as  if  we  were  at  home — 
thou  art  the  younger,  and  yet  thou  hast  power  over 
me.  '  Oh  how  lovely  is  it  when  brethren  are  to- 
gether! '  "  he  said. 

He  saw  how  the  marked  contrast  between  this 
reception  and  the  last  surprised  me,  and  prayed 
me  to  pardon  him;  he  could  not  act  otherwise,  be- 
cause the  parlor  was  so  built,  that  the  slightest 
whisper  could  be  heard  by  the  prior,  whose  cell 
was  above. 

They  always  half  mistrusted  him,  and  he  wished 
to  show  that  he,  if  need  be,  could  forcibly  tear 
asunder  all  the  bonds  of  nature,  and  look  upon 
the  priests  alone  as  his  brethren,  the  Church  as  his 
true  mother.  He  described  his  daily  life  to  me, 
and  how  he  secretly  prayed  to  the  God  of  his  fa- 
thers; the  most  cunning  intrigues,  the  most  ghastly 
tales  of  murder,  he  related  with  unmoved  and  pious 
mien;  only  sometimes  a  faint  smile  hovered  round 
the  corners  of  his  mouth.  I  expressed  my  wonder 
at  this  blank  want  of  expression. 

**An  expressive  countenance,"  he  said,  "is  our 
greatest  enemy.  Therefore  with  God's  help  I  have 
made  mine  blank  and  dull.  Within  all  may  be 
rage  and  rebellion  if  you  will,  but  on  the  surface 


must  be  peace — the  blessed  eternal  peace  of  the 
Holy  One." 

We  talked  long  together.  I  reminded  him  of 
Eleazar,  called  Constantine  Montefiore,  who  with 
the  same  view  as  Moses  had  become  a  Dominican. 

"That  is  a  case  in  point,"  said  Geronimo;  "he 
was  caught  in  the  invisible  snares  that  surround 
the  parlor.  His  father  visited  him,  they  were  care- 
less enough  to  trust  their  secrets  to  the  gossiping 
walls:  an  hour  later  they  were  thrown  in  prison. 
Constantine  (I  will  not  blame  him:  he  iß  dead)  could 
not  bear  the  thought  that  he  was  guilty  of  his  father's 
tortures  and  death;  with  a  piece  of  broken  glass  he 
opened  a  vein,  and  bled  his  young  life  away.  Old 
Montefiore,  already  half  a  corpse,  two  days  after- 
wards was  burnt  at  an  auto  da  //,  with  the  body  of 
his  son."  Thus  talked  Geronimo.  I  conjured  him, 
by  everything  sacred,  according  to  our  father's 
wishes,  to  take  to  flight;  he  swore  hotly  by  all  that 
is  holy  never  to  leave  his  cloister  alive. 

I  returned  to  the  town;  the  inexplicable  obstinacy 
of  my  brother,  with  his  life  lost  to  the  outer  world, 
made  my  whole  being  shudder;  but  all  my  thoughts 
vanished  like  empty  shadows  when  I  saw  the  maiden, 
who  had  met  me  on  entering  the  parlor,  now  sitting 
on  a  stone  by  the  roadside.  She  did  not  notice 
me,  and  I  passed  her;  hardly  was  I  three  paces  dis- 
tant, however,  when  I  was  moved  to  return  as  if  by 



".Sefiora,"  I  said,  "  I  have  no  right  to  penetrate 
the  secrets  of  your  heart;  but  I  have  a  right,  if  you 
are  in  need  of  help,  to  offer  it  you,  and  you  to  de- 
mand it  from  me." 

She  told  me  afterwards  that  the  earnest  tone  of 
my  voice  had  given  her  more  confidence  in  me  than 
my  chivalrous  words  could  have  done. 

"  Leave  me  alone,  kind  Caballero;  my  knight  must 
be  death  alone,"  said  she,  in  a  voice  in  which  tones 
of  sorrowful  refusal  and  timorous  appeal  combined 
in  exquisite  harmony.  Oh,  what  an  indescribable 
charm  was  in  her  whole  appearance!  I  felt  it,  though 
in  the  twilight,  and  hidden  by  the  carefully  adjusted 
folds  of  her  mantilla,  I  had  seen  little  of  her  except 
her  brilliant  eyes. 

An  inexplicable  thrill  passed  through  me  as  I 
stood  before  her;  I  remained  fast  bound  to  her 
vicinity.  It  was  more  than  mere  pity,  more  than 
sympathy  with  unknown  grief,  that  held  me  there; 
I  did  not  know  it  was  love,  which  reveals  itself 
when  we  approach  the  being  whom  the  Lord  has 
created  for  us. 

I  talked  longer  with  the  maiden,  or  Manuela,  as 
she  was  called.  She  excused  herself  for  refusing 
my  aid;  I  must  not  think  ill  of  her;  misfortune 
and  grief  had  taught  her  mistrust  of  men!  Tears' 
choked  her  voice. 

So  grief  was  the  companion  of  her  youth  also. 
Ah  !  the  unhappy  understand  one  another  easily. 


She  told  me  that  her  father  had  already  been  im- 
prisoned in  the  castle  three  months.  She  wished 
to  wait  here  till  the  Inquisitor  should  return  from 
the  town;  she  knew  well  enough  that  her  own  life 
was  in  danger,  because  the  law  forbade  any  one, 
even  though  a  child,  to  beg  for  the  pardon  of  one 
accused  of  heresy;  she  would  die  with  her  father, 
and  yet  she  feared  the  approaching  night. 

*'  I  see  already,"  she  said,  "it  must  be  so;  and  I 
must  evermore  await  the  morrow  in  weeping  and 

She  rose,  and  went  quickly  away.  I  stood  as  one 
rooted  to  the  spot,  and  when  she  disappeared  from 
my  eyes  at  a  turn  of  the  road,  a  longing  like  home- 
sickness overcame  me,  and  I  rushed  after  her. 
From  the  brow  of  the  hill  overlooking  the  mag- 
nificent bridge  over  the  Guadalquivir  I  saw  three 
veiled  figures  in  white  cloaks  approaching  with 
measured  tread.  Manuela  threw  herself  at  the  feet 
of  the  foremost  one;  a  piercing  cry  of  grief  reached 
me,  and  Manuela  was  forced  aside.  I  sprang  for- 
ward; the  men  quietly  pursued  their  way,  and  ad- 
vanced towards  me;  I  checked  my  rapid  course, 
removed  my  hat  and  bowed;  it  was  the  Inquisitor 
accompanied  by  two  Dominicans,  who  were  return- 
ing to  the  Castle  of  Triana  from  a  hunt  for  souls. 

The  minutes  I  spent  in  humble  trembling  guise — 
a  thousand  curses  for  this  villain,  and  a  thousand 
cares  for  Manuela  in  my  heart — were  a  foretaste  of 

FATHER  AND   SON.  6 1 

hell.  Like  an  arrow  shot  swiftly  from  a  bow,  I 
sped  on  to  support  Manuela,  whose  trembling  steps 
approached  the  gates.  She  recognized  me,  and 
stood  still.  I  could  not  speak  for  gasping,  and 
only  grasped  her  hand. 

"  Leave  me,  I  pray  you,"  she  said,  but  without 
withdrawing  her  hand.  I  swore  to  her — oh,  then 
I  felt  how  dreadful  it  was  not  to  dare  name  the 
Holiest  by  which  a  man  can  swear  !  I  thought 
my  tongue  would  become  incapable,  when  I,  at  the 
moment  when  I  would  have  given  the  greatest  as- 
surance, was  obliged  to  swear  by  St.  Jago.  I  could 
not  speak,  my  whole  soul  was  so  agitated.  Manuela 
clasped  my  hand  in  both  hers,  her  tearful  eyes  met 
mine  confidingly. 

^' Yes,"  she  said,  "I  will  follow  my  impulse;  un- 
happier  than  I  am  I  cannot  be;  come  with  me,  you 
shall  hear  all." 

I  offered  her  my  arm,  and  with  some  hesitation 
she  laid  her  trembling  hand  on  it. 

"These  streets  have  never  seen  me  thus,"  she 
said  in  a  low  voice  as  we  turned  into  a  side  street 
from  the  gate. 

I  tried  to  soothe  her;  she  was  silent,  and  folded 
her  mantilla  closer.  Without  a  word  we  went  on, 
till  in  a  narrow  street,  not  far  from  the  church  of 
Our  Lady  of  the  Pillar,  we  entered  an  insignificant 
little  house. 

*'  Have  you  come  at  last,  Manuela  ?"  cried  a  loud 

62        ^  SPINOZA. 

treble  voice;  and  a  round  figure,  with  a  light,  rolled 
like  a  woolsack  down  the  steps. 

"  I  have  already  prayed  thirteen  Ave  Marias,  and 
vowed  a  three-pound  wax-candle  to  St.  Jago,  if  you 
should  come  home  safe.  Ah  !  my  sweet  little  dove, 
whom  have  you  there?  Praised  be  the  Virgin,  is 
not  that  Don  Alfonso  Sajavedra  from  Valencia  ? 
Excuse  me,  sir,  my  old  eyes — " 

''  You  have  indeed  seen  wrong,  Laura;  it  is  not 
my  cousin,  but  a  stranger — a  friend,  I  should  have 
said,  who  will  help  us." 

"  Then  I  was  right,"  continued  the  old  woman; 
'^  have  I  not  often  told  you  that  if  you  went  some 
one  would  help  us  ?  Whenever  I  went  I  was  thrown 
aside  like  a  squeezed  orange:  but  laugh  away," 
she  croaked  on;  *'it  is  just  as  the  proverb  says,  '  A 
fresh  stamped  real,  with  the  king's  image — God 
save  him  ! — is  better  than  one  defaced  with  use.' 
You  may  pride  yourself,  noble  knight,  that  my  trem- 
bling dove  has  made  an  exception  in  your  favor." 

The  old  woman  was  never  tired  of  praising 
Manuela,  and  said  it  could  only  be  by  a  miracle 
that  I  had  gained  so  much  from  her.  Manuela 
silenced  her  with  difficulty.  After  the  old  woman 
had  reviewed  me  to  her  satisfaction,  she  went  out. 
Manuela  must  have  met  my  gaze^  for  she  dropped 
her  eyes. 

''  Sefior,"  said  she,  and  hastily  grasped  my  hand^ 
''  Sefior,  what  are  you  thinking  of  me  ?" 



"That  we  love  each  other,"  I  answered,  kissing 
her  hand. 

"  Yes,  we  love  each  other,"  said  she.  **  God  in 
heaven  knows  it,  we  love  each  other.  O  mother, 
mother,  why  must  you  die  before  seeing  the  infinite 
happiness  of  your  child  !" 

The  tears  coursed  down  her  glowing  cheeks  at 
these  words. 

"Dare  I  love  you,  Sefior  ?"  she  whispered,  and 
covered  her  eyes  and  cheeks  with  both  hands;  "do 
you  know  me  ?  do  I  know  you  ?" 

"  We  knew  each  other,"  I  answered,  "  the  mo- 
ment God  kindled  the  spark  of  love  in  us;  we  love 
each  other:  is  there  a  more  intimate  knowledge  ?" 

Ah!  it  is  but  a  feeble  echo  of  that  feeling  that  I 
can  reawaken  from  the  past;  but  even  now,  when 
I  approach  the  grave,  even  now  it  thrills  me  like 
lightning,  when  I  think  how  once  almighty  love 
exalted  me.  It  was  God's  providence,  this  self- 
knowledge  and  comprehension  without  effort  or 
search.  Then,  I  confess,  I  felt  nothing  of  this; 
sunk  in  unanticipated  felicity  I  did  not  recognize 
the  unseen  hand  which  guided  me  as  clearly  as  now 
it  is  evident  to  me  it  did. 

In  the  midst  of  her  joy,  the  memory  of  the  joyless 
hours  spent  by  her  imprisoned  father  recurred  to 
Manuela.  I  consoled  her,  promised  my  brother's 
aid;  but  she  trusted  little  to  that. 

The  old  woman  came  in  with  the  supper, 

64  "  SPINOZA. 

"  What  is  the  noble  Caballero's  name  ?"  she 
whispered  to  Manuela  ;  I  saw  the  maiden's  con- 

''Tell  my  name  aloud,  Sefiora,"  I  broke  in;  "it 
sounds  well  in  this  land,  and  this  good  mother  has 
guessed  the  half  prophetically.  I  am  Alfonso  de 

We  sat  down  in  comfort;  the  old  woman  watched 
me  continually,  and  bade  Manuela  notice  whether 
she  were  right  or  not  in  saying  my  hair  was  like 
this  or  that  friend's. 

"  By  G — 's  blood  !"  said  she,  "  how  glad  I  am  that 
there  is  again  a  sombrero  on  the  nail!  Two  woman- 
kind alone  are  but  desolate  creatures,  and  who 
knows  how  things  may  go  with  old  Valor?" 

This  name  startled  me;  I  pressed  my  Manuela  to 
tell  me  her  father's  history;  she  looked  down,  and 
began  after  a  short  pause. 

"You  know  there  were  many  Moorish  ladies 
from  Grenada  in  Cardia  when  the  edict  was  read, 
that  in  future  none  would  be  permitted  to  go  out 
veiled  in  the  national  manner.  Among  the  ladies 
whose  veils  were  torn  off  by  the  soldiery  in  the 
market-place  of  Cardia  was  my  uncle's  wife,  called 
the  beautiful  Mirzah.  Her  beauty  was  so  great 
that  you  would  have  thought  an  angel  from  Para- 
dise had  been  sent  to  bless  the  boldest  of  the  fol- 
lowers of  the  former  lords  of  Spain.  No  strange 
man's  eye  had  ever  rested  on  this  loveliness,  and 


now  to  be  the  prize  of  the  rude  mob!  The  news  of 
this  dreadful  occurrence  spread  quickly  amid  the 
lamentations  of  the  ladies;  it  was  as  if  a  violent 
earthquake  had  shaken  the  whole  of  Aljaniz,  for 
the  intention  to  abolish  the  remaining  customs  of 
the  converted  Moors  was  unmistakable.  I  do  not 
know  why  I  relate  the  story;  I  never  knew  Mirzah, 
who  was  cruelly  repudiated  by  her  husband,  and 
her  fate  was  wholly  unconnected  with  ours.  Ex- 
cuse me  if  I  do  not  know  where  to  begin:  I  have 
not  thought  connectedly  of  these  things,  because  I 
never  expected  to  be  allowed  to  give  an  account  of 
them.  My  father,  like  the  other  Moorish  Christians, 
then  lived  in  Aljaniz  of  Grenada.  Ah  !  I  cannot 
tell  it  you  to-day  !"  Manuela  stopped  and  rose 
hastily  from  her  chair. 

"Well,  well,  I  am  here,"  said  the  Duenna;  "don't 
I  know  it  all  as  well  as  you  ?  Was  I  not  there  when 
your  mother — God  rest  her  soul  ! — told  it  to  you  ? 
I  tremble  to  my  heart's  core  when  I  think  what  life 
must  have  been  like  then." 

With  much  questioning  and  many  interruptions 
I  learned  at  last  that  Manuela's  father,  Don  Antonio 
de  Valor,  called  by  the  Moors  Aben  Hamed,  was  a 
cousin  of  Aben  Humega. 

Don  Antonio,  who  was  averse  to  the  Moorish 
rebellion,  had  remained  a  Christian,  did  not  leave 
Grenada,  and  suffered  as  much  abuse  from  his  co- 
religionists as  from  the  native  Spaniards.     Even 


Don  Antonio's  two  sons  were  enraged  with  him, 
and  when  the  premeditated  storming  of  the  Alham- 
bra  was  unsuccessful,  they  fled  to  the  so-called 
King  of  the  Alpujarras,  Aben  Humega,  in  the 
Sierra  Nevada,  and  fell  covered  with  honor  in  that 
unexampled  war  of  extermination. 

"  You  should  have  come  to  us  sooner,"  inter- 
rupted the  Duenna;  "  then  you  would  have  looked 
round  you:  it  was  not  as  it  is  now;  Flanders  car- 
pets on  the  floors,  tapestry  of  gold  and  silk  on  the 
walls;  gold  and  silver  goblets  on  the  tables,  that 
one  thought  they  must  break  under  them."  We 
silenced  the  old  woman  with  difficulty,  and  Manuela 
went  on  with  the  narrative. 

**  The  insurrection  was  suppressed,  the  Moors 
scattered,  fallen,  or  imprisoned.  As  long  as  the 
philanthropic  Marquis  of  Mondejar  ruled  in  Gre- 
nada, my  father  lived  undisturbed  in  the  seclusion 
to  which  his  own  wish  and  his  diminished  fortune 
consigned  him;  when  the  noble  Marquis  was  re- 
called, my  father  was  arrested  as  a  secret  devotee 
of  Islamism.  The  King's  half-brother,  Don  John 
of  Austria,  who  next  held  the  government,  again 
set  him  free  from  prison.  My  father  came  here  to 
live  in  peace,  far  from  the  remains  of  his  former 
associations.  For  ten  years  he  remained  undis- 
turbed; he  went  daily  to  church,  but  otherwise 
never  left  the  house,  employing  the  whole  of  his  time 
in  the  study  of  learned  writings  and  in  my  education. 



"Half  a  year  later  a  malignant  fever  tore  my 
mother  from  us;  hardly  any  one  dared  approach  her 
bed  except  my  father;  she  died  in  his  arms.  From 
the  day  my  mother  was  buried,  my  father  never 
crossed  the  threshold  of  the  house*  even  I,  who' 
once  could  do  anything  with  him,  could  not  per- 
suade him  to  go  near  the  church. 

"  Twelve  weeks  ago  yesternight — O  God  !  I 
shall  never  forget  that  hour! — two  familiars  de- 
manded admission  to  the  house  in  the  name  of  the 
Inquisition.  Laura  had  the  courage  to  admit  them; 
I  could  not  move  from  my  place.  They  forced  their 
way  in,  and  dragged  my  father  to  the  Castle  of 
Triana,  where  he  must  defend  himself  from  suspi- 
cion of  heresy.  An  hour  later  everything  in  the 
house  was  searched  and  sealed;  I  had  to  look  on, 
while  they  tore  down  my  mother's  picture,  because 
they  thought  treasure  might  be  concealed  behind 
it,  and,  as  they  expressed  it,  the  seductive  heathen's 
face  might  have  swallowed  money."  Here  Manuela 
suddenly  stopped. 

"  I  have  told  you  all,"  she  then  continued  in  a 
confiding  tone;  "  I  have  neither  misuse  of  it  to  fear, 
nor,  alas !  advantage  from  its  use  to  hope." 

I  used  every  inducement  to  comfort  Manuela; 
but  the  old  woman  looked  ghostly  to  me.  as,  during 
the  latter  part  of  the  narration,  she  sat  with  folded 
hands  and  staring  eyes,  her  lips  moving  mechani- 
cally in  whispered  prayer.     Manuela  did  not  notice 


her;  for  I  had  succeeded  in  turning  her  mind  from 

the  sad  visions  of  the  past.     Midnight  had  chimed 

when  I  arrived  at  my  Posada.     When  I  awoke  next 

morning  all  seemed  a  dream. 

•    I  sought  Manuela  next  day,  and   really  believed 

I  had  reason  to  suppose  it  all  a  vision  of  my  heated 


Repentance  for  violated  custom,  trouble  and 
doubt  about  the  fate  of  her  father,  were  evinced  in 
every  movement.  She  appeared  completely  altered; 
instead  of  bold,  striving  activity  of  mind,  to-day 
she  evinced  Tnere  broken  will  and  slavish  submis- 
sion, and  repulsed  me  from  her. 

I,  like  a  fool,  believed  that  the  heavenly  exulta- 
tion that  raised  us  above  all  considerations  of  every- 
day life  could  subsist  forever  wuth  equal  force. 
Angry,  that  now  the  celestial  must  give  place  to  the 
terrestrial  for  me,  I  left  Manuela,  and  only  out  of 
pity,  and  not  to  neglect  a  duty  once  undertaken,  I 
went  to  Geronimo  and  told  him  all. 

His  sharp  sight  soon  penetrated  the  state  of 

"  The  maiden  is  either  an  angel  or  a  devil,"  said 
he.  "  Habitual  dissimulation,  like  habitual  virtue, 
is  not  possible  in  such  an  extraordinary  degree. 
The  perfectly  passive  submission  to  a  higher  will, 
which  has  so  deceived  you,  is  merely  the  first  article 
of  the  Credo  of  the  Great  Prophet.  But  set  your 
mind  at  ease:  I  think  I  can  manage  to  set  old  Valor 



free,  though  he  is  as  little  a  Christian  as  you  and 
T.    They  found  very  little  money  belonging  to  him." 

I  wished  not  to  revisit  Manuela  until  her  father 
was  set  at  liberty,  for  that  would  most  convincingly 
set  her  doubts  at  rest.  That  evening  I  again  joined 
the  company  of  my  friends.  With  a  loud  ''^  ola 
amigoT  I  was  greeted  by  the  assembly;  each  one 
wanted  to  know  the  reason  of  my  two  days'  ab- 
sence, and  each  one  explained  it  according  to  his 
own  particular  habit  of  mind  and  manners.  I  was 
gay*and  jovial.  The  next  day  after  matins  I  again 
visited  my  brother.  It  was  astonishing  to  me  how 
quickly  Don  Antonio  was  set  at  liberty.  For  Gero- 
nimo  had  hardly  laid  the  affair  before  the  Inquisitor 
when  they  set  him  free.  I  was  now  permitted  to 
accompany  Don  Antonio  home.  At  the  entrance 
of  his  dungeon  I  waited  till  he  came  out;  for  no 
one  but  the  accused  might  enter  those  dark  regions. 
When  the  emancipated  prisoner  came  forth,  it  was 
evident  what  rack  and  chains  had  done  for  him. 
Don  Antonio  had  hardly  strength  to  stand  upright; 
his  eyes,  at  the  unaccustomed  light,  streamed  with 
tears  until  he  was  obliged  to  close  them.  I  led  him 
forth,  and  related  what  had  happened  during  the 
last  few  days:  his  white  lips  tried  to  form  a  smile, 
for  he  perceived  in  my  representation  of  events  my 
love  for  Manuela. 

"  Does  my  child  know  of  my  liberation  ?"  he 
asked,  and  forced  open  his  eyes,  whose  wild  look 

;ro  SPINOZA. 

went  to  my  heart.  I  told  him  I  v/ished  to  punish 
Manuela  for  her  doubt,  and  that  she  should  first  see 
me  again  at  his  side.  He  did  not  answer,  but  shook 
his  head,  muttering  some  inaudible  words.  I  was 
uncomfortable  in  his  presence. 

At  last  we  arrived  at  Antonio's  house.  No  one 
noticed  us.  With  much  labor,  and  stopping  for 
breath  at  every  step,  Don  Antonio  mounted  the 
staircase.  We  entered  the  room,  and  he  sank  into 
the  easy-chair,  in  which  he  had  borne  his  sorrows 
during  so  many  years.  Still  no  one  was  aware  of 
our  presence.  I  opened  the  inner  door;  in  this 
room  I  saw  Laura  standing  beside  a  bed,  on  which 
Manuela  lay  asleep.  Don  Antonio  slid  noiselessly 
past  me.  When  the  Duenna  saw  us  she  cried  out  in 
a  fearfully  shrill  voice: 

"  O  Jesu  Maria,  the  master  !"  Manuela  awoke, 
stared  blankly  at  us  for  a  time  as  if  dreaming,  and, 
trying  to  dispel  the  illusion,  she  passed  her  hand 
across  her  brow.  "Manuela,  my  child!"  cried  Don 
Antonio.  She  rose  quickly.  "Father!"  she  cried, 
and  fell  sobbing  on  his  neck.  It  was  a  rapturous 
moment,  when  words  died  away,  powerless  to  ex- 
press what  soul  would  say  to  soul. 

"  Loose  me,  my  child,  loose  me,"  said  Don  An- 
tonio, and  this  time  the  tears  that  coursed  down  his 
hollow  cheeks  were  of  joy;  "  I  am  not  strong  enough 
to  bear  your  caresses;  command  yourself,  Manuela. 
See  !  there  is  our  friend,  our  deliverer,  Don  Alfonso; 




thank  him,  who  was  sent  by  God  to  deliver  us  in 
our  need." 

Manuela  loosed  her  father.  Her  expressive  eyes 
had  again  the  same  entreating  yet  defiant  expres- 
sion as  when  I  first  saw  her;  she  threw  herself  on 
her  knees  before  me,  seized  my  hand,  and  covered 
it  with  tears  and  kisses. 

"Pardon  me,  dear  sir,"  she  entreated;  ''  I  did  not 
realize  your  power  and  greatness;  pardon  a  poor 
inexperienced  girl." 

"Rise,  Manuela,  rise,  I  command  you;  that  is 
not  what  I  meant;  that  is  not  the  way  to  give 
thanks,"  said  Don  Antonio;  and  Manuela  obeyed. 

From  that  time  I  visited  Manuela  daily.  Her 
father  was  very  ill.  The  muscular  action  that  had 
been  half  destroyed  by  the  rack  the  physician 
hoped  he  might  be  able  to  restore,  but  despaired 
of  saving  his  sight. 

Don  Antonio  had  made  them  swear  to  conceal 
nothing  from  him  regarding  his  state;  and  at  this 
news  inexpressible  wrath  filled  his  soul.  "  Man,"  he 
once  said,  ''  is  the  most  abject  creature  on  earth. 
What  beast  of  prey  would  be  so  cruel — I  will  not 
say  to  those  of  his  own  species,  but  to  such  as  it  is 
born  to  lord  it  over — as  one  man  is  to  another  ? 
The  hungry  tiger  and  the  tearing  wolf  suck  the 
blood  from  their  prey,  but  that  is  mercy  compared 
to  men  who  kill  by  thousand-fold  deaths.  Theyj 
have  noble  gifts,  boldly  inventive  minds,  and  theyl 


invent  graves  in  which  their  fellow-creatures  may 
rot  alive.     Oh,  if  I  were  but — " 

He  broke  off,  and  gnashed  his  teeth.  Manuela 
understood  her  father's  condition;  she  did  not  ven- 
ture to  calm  him  with  conversation,  but  she  sum- 
moned all  the  resources  of  her  wit  to  lighten  his 
melancholy.  The  innumerable  small  attentions 
which  she  paid  him  so  unassumingly,  the  wealth 
of  little  anecdotes  and  favorite  reminiscences  of 
her  father's  that  flowed  from  her  lips,  the  lively 
songs  which  she  sang  to  her  guitar  accompaniment 
with  all  the  freshness  of  youth — all  this  done  in 
such  a  manner  could  only  be  prompted  by  a  richly 
gifted  mind. 

Perhaps  I  wronged  Manuela,  but  my  vanity 
flattered  itself  that  in  causing  this  joyous^  outpour- 
ing of  her  inner  life  my  presence  had  some  part, 
as  well  as  filial  affection.  We  loved  each  other 
ever  more  and  more  tenderly  and  consciously. 
Don  Antonio  grew  better  day  by  day;  some  slight 
power  of  sight  returned  to  his  eyes  by  which  he 
could  see  the  outlines  of  objects  as  if  covered  with 
a  dark  veil.  "  Manuela,"  I  said  one  day  to  her, 
when  we  were  alone  during  Don  Antonio's  siesta, 
"  Manuela,  may  I  at  last  take  some  steps  towards 
our  final  union?" 

"  Please,  please,  do  not  speak  to  me  of  anything 
so  serious;  I  am  too  young  to  think  of  such  things/' 
she  said. 



"  But  I  told  you  before  that  my  love  was  not 
given  to  a  child,  but  to  a  maiden  with  reason  and 
will  of  her  own." 

"And  who  is  that  happy  creature?"  laughed 
Manuela.     "  I  forgot  to  ask." 

Then  I  swore  I  would  no  longer  be  put  off  with 
a  jest;  she  must  confess  whether  she  knew  her 
father's  intentions  or  not. 

"  No,"  was  the  monosyllabic  answer. 

"And  what  have  you  determined  to  do,  if  your 
father — God  forbid  it — should  refuse  me?" 

She  answered  in  a  decided  voice,  "  Filial  duty  is 
above  all  others,  but  I  will — "  She  could  not 
finish,  for  Don  Antonio  called  from  his  chamber, 
"  What  is  that  noise  ?  What  are  you  quarrelling 
about  ?" 

"Don  Alfonso  will  not  believe  that  I  was  only 
fifteen  a  month  ago." 

"That  you  were  already  fifteen,  say  rather,  my 
child,  for  the  older  the  man  is,  the  worse  for  him  in 
this  cursed  land." 

"  Manuela  is  wrong,"  I  said  to  Don  Antonio  as 
he  came  out;  "  she  has  misinformed  you;  she  would 
not  believe  me  when  I  said  I  should  go  away  to- 

"I  am  heartily  sorry  for  that,"  said  the  old  man; 
"I  should  like  to  have  you  always  near  me.  Men 
get  accustomed  to  new  friends  with  difficulty  when 
they  are  old,  at  least  to  friends  of  your  age;  but 



near  you,  I  declare,  I  wish  what  I  never  wished  be- 
fore, to'  be  young  again,  merely  in  order  to  be 
wholly  your  friend." 

"  Would  you  not  rather  be  my  father  ?"  I  felt 
how  the  blood  rushed  to  my  face,  I  saw  how  vio- 
lently Manuela  blushed,  as  I  said  these  words  with 

"Go,  child,"  said  Don  Antonio  indifferently,  "  go 
and  fetch  me  that  book  from  our  neighbor,  which 
he  has  had  so  long." 

Manuela  went  out. 

"  I  am  much  indebted  to  you,"  Don  Antonio  then 
said  to  me,  "  but  it  is  not  manly  to  clothe  service 
and  thanks  in  soft  words;  also,  according  to  the 
rules  of  our  religion,  men  should  neither  demand 
nor  offer  thanks,  since  in  all  our  goings  and  com- 
ings we  are  but  tools  in  the  hand  of  God.  I  do  not 
know  whether  that  is  why  there  is  so  much  ingrati- 
tude in  the  world;  but  now,  ask  what  you  would 
have,  you  shall  have  it,  except  my  child,  my  Manuela! 
I  cannot  do  without  her,  she  is  as  needful  to  my  life 
as  the  air  I  breathe,  and  as  long  as  I  live  she  shall 
be  no  man's  wife.  Press  it  no  further,  spare  your- 
self and  me  the  bootless  words."  I  was  stunned, 
and  could  say  nothing;  tears  stood  in  my  eyes,  I 
took  my  hat,  and  went  out.  Don  Antonio  called 
after  me  to  return,  but  I  did  not  turn  round.  Man- 
uela met  me  on  the  steps;  I  hardly  saw  her,  and 
hastened  away. 

PATtiER  AN-Jb  soJ\r.  ^5 

I  went  to  Geronimo,  and  told  him  of  my  inten- 
tion to  travel,  and  the  reason  of  it. 

"It  is  not  Manuela,"  he  said,  "whom  you  fly 
from:  it  is  from  yourself,  from  the  inclinations  of 
your  own  heart,  you  are  forced  to  run;  but  they  will 
follow  you  as  your  shadow,  they  will  not  vanish 
with  distance;  no,  ever  lovelier  and  more  fascinat- 
ing will  they  appear;  and  in  longing  and  deferred 
hope  you  will  linger  on  in  sickness  of  mind.  The 
Lord  defend  you  doubly  and  trebly  from  the  other 
course.  Trust  me,  for  you  know  that  I  too  have 
loved,  and  my  dead  Isabella  will  live  in  my  heart 
until  it  shall  cease  to  beat.  Therefore  guard  care- 
fully your  first  love,  or  see  to  it  that  you  take  with 
you  the  certainty  of  your  former  delusion.  Man 
yourself,  and  go  again  to  Manuela." 

I  willingly  followed  his  advice. 

That  evening  I  went  to  take  leave  of  my  joyous 
circle  of  friends.  All  congratulated  me  on  my 
lovely  bride;  one  said  I  was  truly  condescending 
still  to  remember  my  friends,  when  I  was  on  the 
point  of  uniting  myself  with  a  descendant  of  the 
Chalifs  of  Cordova. 

"The  family  is  as  noble  as  that  of  Ponce  de 
Leon;  and  he  who  denies  it,  I  will  plant  the  point 
of  my  sword  in  his  heart  as  the  stem  of  a  family 
tree,"  I  replied,  and  was  ready  to  follow  my  words 
with  deeds. 

All  sprang  up  to  appease  the  quarrel.     My  good 


humor,  however,  was  ruffled  by  this,  and  I  sought 
an  opportunity  to  return  home.  I  shook  hands  with 
one  after  the  other,  but  they  all  cried,  "  No,  we  will 
not  let  you  go  that  way;  you  shall  see  how  much 
we  think  of  you;  we  will  go  to  your  beloved's  house 
with  you,  and  send  a  musical  scale  of  your  feelings 
for  her  into  that  quiet  chamber  where  she  lies 
and  dreams  of  you."  The  guitars  and  other  instru- 
ments were  quickly  taken  down  from  the  walls  of 
the  Posada,  and  their  harmony  tried  by  a  touch, 
and  the  throats  cleared  with  another  pull  at  the 
wine  of  La  Mancha  mixed  with  water.  I  thanked 
them,  and  protested  against  their  intention,  but  all 
to  no  purpose. 

"  Will  you  not  go  with  us  ?"  they  all  cried  to- 
gether. ''Very  wellj  we  will  go  alone;  and  to-mor- 
row you  will  hear  wonders  of  the  heaven-storming 
love  messages  we  have  sent  up  to  her."  To  tem- 
per their  recklessness  I  went  with  them  through 
the  deserted  streets  with  a  beating  heart;  naught 
else  was  to  be  heard  but  the  echoing  steps  and 
careless  laughter  of  our  jovial  company.  Hardly 
was  our  first  "  Farewell "  sung,  when  the  windows 
of  the  neighboring  houses  were  filled  with  inquisi- 
tive fair  ones  in  light  night-gear;  the  house  of  Man- 
uela alone  remained  blank  and  silent. 

My  friends  retired;  I  remained,  and  sang  one 
more  song  of  melancholy  farewell;  but  still  no  one 
appeared,  and  I  unwillingly  returned  home. 



I  went  early  next  morning  to  Manuela's  house 
with  a  doubting  heart  and  trembling  limbs.  I  sur- 
prised her  in  her  light  morning-gown;  she  gave 
a  slight  exclamation,  and  without  answering  my 
greeting  disappeared  through  the  inner  door,  which 
she  closed  after  her. 

"  Good-morning,  you  haughty  fugitive  knight ! 
Has  your  hot  head  left  its  ill-humors  in  its  night- 
cap ?"  she  called  through  to  me  laughingly.  "  Now 
who  was  right,  father  ?"  she  continued ;  "  do  I  not 
know  something  of  human  nature  ?  Did  I  not  say 
Don  Alfonso  would  come  again  ?  I  was  certain  of 
it.  Now,  Sir  knight,  as  you  have  won  me  a  victory 
over  my  father,  I  allow  you,  by  virtue  of  my  author- 
ity to  bind  and  to  loose,  to  remain  three  days  longer 
in  Seville,  if  you  lay  the  penance  upon  yourself  of 
making  a  pilgrimage  every  day  to  St.  Manuela,  and 
kneeling  before  her  praying  for  an  hour;  or  would 
you  prefer  some  other  favor  ?" 

"Yes,"  I  replied,  "this:  that  you  would  not  waste 
our  limited  number  of  minutes  on  unnecessary  or- 
namentation, but  come  out  as  soon  as  possible." 

She  made  no  reply,  but  sang  the  "  Farewell  "  of 
the  previous  evening  in  a  trembling  voice.  She 
had  hardly  finished  the  first  verse  before  she  came 
out  with  her  arms  folded  under  a  gray  cloak. 

"  You  Hotspur !"  said  she,  "you  are  so  niggardly 
with  your  seconds,  you  do  not  leave  me  time  to 
dress  myself  properly.     I  am  such  a  child,  that  for 


fear  you  should  run  away  as  you  did  yesterday 
evening,  I  come  wrapped  in  an  old  mantle  of  my 
late  mother's;  but  it  is  such  an  awkward  old- 
fashioned  thing,  that  I  cannot  hold  it  on  long,  so 
be  quick  that  you  may  go  away  soon,  or  leave  me 
now  and  come  back  again  shortly." 

''  I  shall  not  cause  you  inconvenience  long, 
Sefiora,"  I  replied,  irritated  at  her  last  words;  she 
perceived  it,  and  walked  backwards  and  forwards 
with  her  eyes  fixed  on  the  ground. 

"  If  we  must  part,"  she  said,  "  I  should  prefer  to 
do  so  now;  I  see  by  your  continued  agitation  that 
the  memories  which  should  illuminate  our  dark 
future  will  be  colorless  and  broken.  My  father 
knows  how  much  I  love  you,  I  have  concealed  no- 
thing from  him;  Heaven  grant  that  your  love  is 
equal  to  mine!  I  wish  for  nothing  more.  But  I  also 
know  how  to  obey."  Don  Antonio  sat  silently  in 
his  arm-chair,  wrapped  in  his  dressing-gown,  his 
hands  clasped  between  his  knees,  and  his  shoulders 

"What  purifying  fires  of  adversity  has  your 
mutual  love  stood  yet?"  he  murmured  in  a  strange 
voice,  without  moving  in  the  least  from  his  cower- 
ing position. 

"It  was  born  in  adversity,"  I  answered,  "but  we 
should  soon  forget  that  both  freely  and  willingly." 

"What  would  you  have?"  he  cried,  and  rose 
trembling  from  his  seat.     "  Because  by  chance  you 


aided  in  my  deliverance  do  you  seek  to  rob  me 
doubly  and  trebly  of  life,  since  you  would  rob  me 
of  my  child's  love  and  obedience.  I  have  given 
you  all,  you  proud  Spaniards;  you  have  sapped  my 
trunk,  drop  by  drop,  of  strength  and  power;  I  am 
but  a  dried  stick;  but  as  sure  as  the  blood  of  the 
old  Valors  runs  in  my  veins,  my  child,  my  life  you 
shall  not  rob  me  of,  as  long  as  this  hand  has  strength 
to  bury  this  dagger  in  her  weak  maiden's  heart. 
Go  !  old  fool  that  I  am,  I  was  deluded  into  thinking 
you  better  than  others.  Go  !  you  are  as  covetous 
and  mischievous  as  all  the  rest." 

His  voice  sounded  like  a  war-cry,  his  foaming 
lips  trembled  with  rage;  he  sank  back  powerless 
into  his  chair.  Manuela  hastened  to  him,  stretched 
her  bare  arms  towards  him,  and  prayed  him  to  be 

"  O  God,  where  shall  I  turn  to  !"  she  cried.  "  I 
saw  my  mistake,  offered  Don  Antonio  my  hand, 
and  prayed  him  to  forget  the  words  he  had  just 
spoken  as  readily  as  I,  too,  would  forget  them,  that 
we  might  part  in  peace.  He  pressed  my  hand  con- 

"You  irritated  me  too  much,"  he  said,  "Don 
Antonio  de  Valor  was  never  ungrateful,  and  never 
permitted  such  an  accusation  to  be  made  to  his 
face.  My  child  is  mine,  as  much  my  own  as  my 
right  hand;  shall  I  cut  it  off,  and  give  it  you  with 
thanks  ?     I  am  angry  no  more,  certainly  not;    be 


patient,  it  is  but  a  short  span  of  life  that  I  have  yet 
to  pass,  and  I  shall  not  make  the  time  longer." 

He  sat  up,  and  concentrated  all  his  powers  of 
sight  to  read  the  effect  of  his  words  on  our  coun- 
tenances; he  must  have  found  something  satisfac- 
tory, for  he  continued  in  a  gentler  voice: 

"  I  intended  so  well  by  you  that  in  the  spring 
who  knows  whether  I  may  not  come  to  Guada- 
laxara,  to  try,  with  your  learned  father's  aid,  to' 
sharpen  the  sight  of  my  bodily  and  spiritual  eyes." 

"  Oh,  that  would  be  glorious  !"  said  Manuela  joy- 
fully; "  I  will  take  such  care  of  you,  that  you  will 
be  quite  young  again.  How  far  will  you  come  to 
meet  us,  Don  Alfonso  ?" 

The  conversation  now  took  a  gayer  tone. 

"I  never  thought  it  would  all  end  so  well;  it  is 
lucky  my  father's  old  sword  is  rusted  in  its  sheath 
on  the  wall,  or  perhaps  our  room  would  have  been 
a  bloody  battle-field,"  said  Manuela,  her  gayety 
blooming  yet  brighter  through  grief.and  tears. 

Don  Antonio  did  not  speak  again;  but,  amid 
memories  of  the  past  and  plans  for  the  future,  I 
felt  that  the  moment  of  separation  had  arrived,  for 
I  must  tear  myself  away  from  such  joyous  asso- 
ciations. I  put  out  my  hand  to  take  leave  of  Don 

"Depart  in  peace,"  he  said;  "at  peace  with 
yourself  and  with  us;  remember  me  to  your  worthy 


FATHER  AND    SON,  %\ 

"And  shall  we  soon  see  each  other  again?"  I 
asked;  he  pressed  my  hand  and  nodded  assent. 
Manuela  stood  by  motionless;  our  eyes  met,  as  if 
each  would  impress  the  image  of  the  other  once 
more  on  the  memory;  the  grief  of  parting  agitated 
both  alike,  and  each  sought  to  repress  it. 

"Manuela,  farewell!"  I  said,  approaching  my 

"  Farewell,"  she  answered  in  a  firm  voice;  "  I  am 
certain  that  you  will  never  forget  me;  and,  if  it  is 
fated  that  we  should  at  one  time  belong  to  each 
other,  we  shall  find  each  other  again;  if  it  is  other- 
wise decreed,  what  is  the  use  of  complaint  and 
opposition  ?  Obedience  is  our  duty.  Be  happy 
therefore  with  another,  who,  however,  will  not  love 
you  more  than  I  have  done;  but  all  the  powers  of 
earth  and  heaven  shall  not  prevent  me  from  loving 
you  till  death  and  after.     Farewell !" 

I  embraced  her  father  again  passionately;  I  be- 
lieve I  should  have  pressed  the  Grand  Inquisitor 
himself  to  my  heart.  I  know  nothing  more  of  how 
I  tore  myself  away,  but  at  the  house-door  the 
Duenna  stopped  me,  and  strange  to  say,  every  word 
of  her  address  remains  in  my  memory;  I  seem  even 
to  hear  her  voice — 

It  often  annoys  us,  but  it  is  wisely  ordained,  that 
near  a  nightingale  there  is  always  a  cuckoo  or  some 
other  every-day  bird,  or  a  frog  croaks  in  the  marsh. 

"  The  world  is  always  the  same,"  the  old  woman 


began,  as  she  kissed  the  hem  of  my  mantle.  "  Laura, 
who  means  better  than  any  one  else  in  the  world,  is 
forgotten  by  every  one.  You  must  not  think  I  have 
run  after  you  to  be  thanked,  for  I  do  not  know  my- 
self what  for.  But  you  are  so  proud  that  you 
hardly  say  *  Good-day  '  to  Laura,  and  yet  I  have 
stood  a  good  deal  for  you;  I  at  least  deserved  that 
your  Honor  should  say  '  Good-by  '  to  me.  I  should 
have  been  offended  if  I  were  not  so  long  used  to 
the  ingratitude  of  the  world.  Holy  Mary,  Mother 
of  God,  be  with  me  !  poor  sinner  that  I  am,  I  could 
wish  in  my  heart  that  they  would  bring  me  the  last 
sacrament,  and  give  me  a  house  of  six  boards.  Our 
dear  good  Don  Alfonso  goes  away,  and  we  shall 
have  Ash  Wednesday  the  whole  year  round.  As 
St.  Jago  is  good  to  me,  you  may  believe  me,  if  I 
were  not  so  fond  of  Manuela  I  would  not  stay 
twenty-four  hours  with  the  old  cripple,  who  makes 
a  face  like  Judas  every  day  in  the  year;  and  that 
good  child,  what  she  suffers  from  him  no  one  knows. 
Oh  !  it  would  be  well  enough  for  you,  if  only  I  need 
not  suffer  from  it.  If  it  is  all  settled  among  ourselves, 
no  one  will  tell  a  whisper  of  it  abroad;  you  see 
what  it  is  not  to  have  old  experienced  persons  who 
have  been  much  about  in  the  world  for  advisers. 
In  my  last  situation  I  brought  a  pair  together,  whom 
the  old  ones  were  much  more  against  than  is  our 
old  grumbler  upstairs;  but  they  were  not  so  proud 
that  for  mere  billing  and  cooing  they  have  over- 


looked  their  best  friend  under  their  very  noses.  It 
is  true  they  rewarded  me  at  last  with  ingratitude — 
but  that  is  nothing.  *  If  you  give  to-day,  you  are 
forgotten  to-morrow,'  so  says  the  proverb;  and  a 
proverb  is  a  true  speech.  If  you  had  but  given  me 
a  wink,  I  would  have  contrived  it  better.  You  may 
be  good  and  brave  enough,  but — don't  be  offended, 
your  Honor;  I  mean  well,  as  sure  as  I  am  a  sinner — 
you  are  not  clever.  For  six  long  weeks  you  have 
sneaked  round  it  like  a  cat  after  hot  meat.  Why, 
the  very  next  day,  the  very  next  hour,  you  brought 
the  old  man  home,  you  should  have  wooed  my 
sweet  little  dove.  Put  it  to  yourself,  could  he  have 
refused  you  ?  *  Press  the  lemon  dry  before  it  is 
rotten,'  says  the  proverb;  but 'in  six  weeks — St. 
James  !  what  cannot  be  forgotten  in  six  weeks  !  I 
don't  wonder  he  wipes  his  mouth,  and  dismisses 
you  with  a  mere  Gratias  !  There  is  no  one  prouder 
than  a  knight  of  the  hills,  but  I  always  thought  he 
was  half  a  heathen — I  would  not  stay  in  the  house 
if  it  were  not  for  the  good  child,  who  is  as  dear  to 
me  as  if  she  were  my  own  babe.  I  tell  you  I  have 
seen  many  lovers;  I  myself,  stare  as  you  will,  was 
once  young  and  charming,  and  had  good  reason  to 
show  myself.  I  was  very  fond  of  my  first  husband 
— very  fond  indeed;  but  I  never  thought  to  see  any 
one  in  love  as  Manuela  is,  my  whole  life  long. 
What  does  the  old  man  care  ?  For  him  she  might 
wait   till   her   hair   was -gray   and    her   soft    flesh 


wrinkled;  his  life  is  tough  enough,  he  will  not  die 
yet  awhile;  he  will  give  her  to  no  one  else.  God 
be  merciful  to  me,  I  believe  he  would  marry  her 
himself,  if  it  were  not  against  nature.  Oh  !  it  makes 
my  heart  jump  in  my  breast  when  I  think  how 
pleasant  everything  might  have  been;  it  would 
have  been  so  different,  and  old  Laura  might  then 
have  had  the  pleasure  of  rocking  a  rosy  young 
Manuelita  or  Alfonsito  in  her  arms.  But  it  is  all 
talking  to  the  winds  now,  and  I  keep  you  here  for 
nothing.  Don't  take  it  amiss,  your  Honor;  make 
haste  to  come  back  soon,  then  let  Laura  act,  and 
you  will  see  how  w^ell  things  will  turn  out." 

I  listened  to  the  old  woman,  half  unwillingly, 
as  if  compelled.  Now  I  offered  her  some  doubloons 
as  a  farewell;  she  said  she  would  not  take  them; 
she  did  not  know  what  they  were  for;  she  had  not 
earned  them.  After  some  protest  she  took  them, 
and  with  a  roguish  expression  of  gratitude  said: 

"You  should  have  seen  sooner  the  truth  of  the 
proverb:  'Presents  move  rocks.'  Have  you  no 
more  commissions  for  Manuela?" 

I  knew  of  none;  she  kissed  my  hand,  and  went 
away  grumbling  and  muttering  at  the  heathenish 
bald-head.  After  an  hour  passed  in  visiting  Ge- 
ronimo  I  had  left  Seville.  I  saw  clearly  that  here 
was  a  turning-point  in  my  career  that  would  in- 
fluence my  whole  life. 

But  what  are  the  intentions  and  decisions  of  pien  ? 


A  puf¥  of  wind,  a  shadow,  disturbs  them,  and  they 
are  no  more. 

More  tlian  a  year  passed  away;  I  had  written 
twice  to  Manuela  and  her  father,  but  received  no 
answer.  Her  lovely  image  receded  more  and  more 
into  the  background  of  my  soul;  the  exclusiveness 
and  self-sufficiency  in  which  I  had  wrapped  myself 
disappeared  by  degrees.  The  retreat  of  our  uncle 
in  Madrid  and  his  family  from  our  secret  society, 
his  bitter  repentance,  and  the  penance  he  did  for 
the  former  half-heartedness  of  his  faith,  filled  us  all 
with  grief  and  anxiety.  The  powerful  Espinosas 
now  in  Spain  are  the  descendants  of  this  uncle. 
But  not  by  a  single  betrayal  of  his  coreligionists 
did  he  seek  to  lighten  the  hard  penance  laid  upon 
him.  We  heard,  however,  from  Geronimo  that 
through  a  new  edict  of  the  Inquisition,  which  we 
had  believed  would  affect  the  Moorish  Christians 
alone,  the  Jewish  Christians  also  would  be  exiled 
to  Africa. 

Amid  anxiety  for  myself  and  those  belonging 
to  me,  the  memory  of  Manuela  revived  with  all  the 
fascinations  of  her  angelic  being.  I  saw  the  finger 
of  God  in  it,  when  Rodrigo  Casseres,  who  was 
travelling  to  Seville,  offered  to  take  charge  of  my 
commissions  there. 

I  represented  in  my  letter  to  Manuela  all  the 
horrors  that  awaited  us,  and  besought  her  to  come 
to  us  immediately  with  her  father,  that  we  might 


bear  the  future  together.  Almost  without  hope  of 
any  result,  and  merely  to  fulfil  love's  last  duty,  I 
sent  off  the  letter. 

My  breast  filled  with  a  thousand  cares  and 
anxieties,  and  blaming  our  ancestors,  who  had 
laid  on  us  a  daily,  ever-recurring,  inglorious  martyr- 
dom, and  doubled-faced  religion,  as  an  inheritance, 
I  sauntered  one  day  along  the  country  road.  There 
I  saw  a  carriage  advancing  at  a  slow  rate;  I  ap- 
proached. A  look,  a  cry,  and  Manuela  was  in  my 
arms.  As  if  by  magical  attraction  had  she  lightly 
sprung  over  the  side  of  the  carriage.  I  quickly 
got  into  the  conveyance  with  her,  and  drew  the  cur- 
tains, then  drove  towards  the  gate.  Don  Antonio 
sat  by  Manuela,  wrapped  in  a  large  woollen  rug;  he, 
too,  congratulated  himself  on  the  lucky  accident 
that  had  allowed  us  to  meet  so  soon. 

"  If  I  had  gone  much  longer  over  hill  and  dale," 
he  said,  ''  Manuela  would  have  brought  me  to  you 
as  a  corpse;  the  journey  rattled  all  my  limbs  to- 
gether so,  that  I  thought  I  was  on  the-  rack  again. 
You  have  succeeded  to  your  heart's  content,  have 
you  not,  Manuela,  now  you  have  persuaded  the  old 
fool  to  this  long  journey?  Yes,  yes;  my  life  is 
worth  nothing  now;  the  sooner  I  die  the  better,  is 
it  not.     Never  mind,  I  shall  not  last  long." 

With  a  mocking  laugh  he  scowled  at  us  both, 
and  pushed  Manuela's  arm  away. 

If  his   former  refusal  had  seemed  diabolical  ava- 


rice  to  me  before,  the  way  he  now  poisoned  his 
own  child's  happiness  made  it  difficult  for  me  to 
conquer  my  disgust;  but  he  was  nevertheless  Man- 
uela's  father.  Manuela  understood  how  to  dispel 
my  annoyance  by  innumerable  little  questions  and 
reminiscences.  She  easily  succeeded,  for  what  an 
infinitude  we  had  to  say  to  each  other.  But  how 
strange  it  is,  that,  while  a  hundred  important  ques- 
tions crowd  into  the  mind,  it  is  so  often  the  least 
important  that  first  forms  itself  into  words  ! 

"  How  is  old  Laura  ?"  I  inquired. 

*'  She  is  dead,  the  false  viper  !  Hear  what  hap- 
pened to  her.  Hardly  seven  months  since  my  father 
lay  very  ill  (he  has  hardly  enjoyed  a  month's  health 
during  your  absence).  Laura  fell  ill  also;  she  was 
taken  to  the  hospital  of  San  Lorenzo,  which  she 
made  heir  to  all  her  possessions.  Her  illness  in- 
creased; she  was  incurable.  After  she  had  received 
the  final  sacrament,  she  expressed  as  a  last  wish 
that  they  should  bring  me  to  her;  she  could  not  die 
in  peace  till  she  had  spoken  to  me  once  more  alone. 
My  father,  too,  advised  me  to  go  to  her,  and  with 
almost  insuperable  disinclination  I  allowed  myself 
to  be  conducted  to  the  hospital.  I  should  hardly 
have  recognized  Laura,  so  emaciated  she  had  be- 
come in  a  few  weeks;  she,  however,  knew  me  at 
once,  and  wept  as  she  stretched  out  her  bony  hands 
to  me.  Her  habitual  talkativeness  had  not  yet  de- 
serted her,  and  in  a  low  voice,  broken  by  groaning 

gg  spiJsrozA. 

and  moaning,  she  avowed  to  me,  that  it  was  she 
who  in  confession  to  the  priest  had  told  that  my 
father  never  went  to  church,  and  worshipped  hea- 
then gods  in  secret. 

"  The  confessor,  for  this  godly  act,  had  absolved 
her  from  all  her  sins;  but  now  it  seemed  to  her  as 
if  she  could  not  die  before  I  too  had  forgiven  her 
for  the  many  troubles  that  had  ensued  to  me  in  con- 
sequence. I  must  remember  that  she  had  pledged 
her  own  soul  that  I  was  a  good  Christian  child,  and 
thus  I  had  been  safe;  I  must  remember,  she  said 
— and  the  old  wretch  winked  with  her  half-closed 
eyes — that  it  was  only  so  that  I  had  come  to  know 
that  dear  good  Don  Alfonso,  and  she  promised  me 
soon  to  pray  in  heaven  for  our  union.  I  thanked 
her  for  her  good  intentions,  but  could  not  embitter 
her  dying  hour,  and  forgave  her,  I  must  confess, 
with  a  not  wholly  willing  heart." 

I  then  told  Manuela  of  my  last  conversation  with 
Laura,  and  amid  such  talk  we  reached  my  father's 
house.  The  arrivals  were  very  welcome  to  my 
father.  Old  Valor  was  carried  up  the  steps,  and 
their  limited  baggage  soon  stowed  in  its  place.  My 
sister,  who  was  some  years  older  than  Manuela, 
was  soon  her  dearest  friend,  so  that  she  felt  com- 
pletely at  home  with  us. 

We  quietly  prepared  for  our  departure,  but  the 
infirm  state  of  Don  Antonio,  in  wliich  he  would  not 
hear  of  a  journey,  made  us  all  anxious;  my  father. 


who  was  reputed  to  be  the  most  experienced  phy- 
sician in  New  Castile,  feared  that  he  would  linger 
long.  We  were  astonished  one  morning,  therefore, 
to  find  him  dead  in  bed,  with  a  frightfully  swollen 
countenance.  For  this  once,  when  Manuela  first 
saw  the  horrible  state  of  her  father's  face,  her 
bodily  powers  sank  unconscious  under  the  burden 
of  her  woe;  otherwise  she  had  endured  with  forti- 
tude all  the  vicissitudes  of  life. 

My  father  thought  that  he  had  not  the  appear- 
ance of  a  natural  death;  and  in  fact,  when  the  body 
was  laid  out,  the  amulet  that  Don  Antonio  had 
worn  on  his  breast  since  his  last  imprisonment  was 
found  open  and  empty,  and  nowhere  were  to  be  dis- 
covered the  remains  of  any  poison.  Manuela  never 
heard  anything  of  this  circumstance. 

As  old  Valor  was  now  dead,  my  father  thought 
our  departure  should  be  deferred  no  longer.  The 
departed  had  left  no  intimation  of  his  last  will: 
what  was  more  natural  than  that  Manuela  should 
travel  with  us  ?  My  father  charged  me  to  remind 
her  to  take  into  speedy  consideration  her  somewhat 
unsettled  affairs.  I  went  to  her,  and  found  her 
alone,  weeping,  and  pensive. 

"  We  all  honor  you  for  these  signs  of  filial  affec- 
tion," I  said  ;  "  but  why  give  yourself  up  any  longer 
to  such  melancholy  thoughts  ?  My  father  will  be 
your  father,  and  I — you  know  what  I  would  be  to 


"  No,  never  !"  she  answered.  ''  Have  pity  on  me, 
poor  orphan  that  I  am,  and  let  me  go  to  my  uncle 
in  Valencia.  He  will  not  visit  my  father's  enmity 
on  me;  he  will  not  repel  his  sister's  child.  How 
willingly  would  I  remain  with  you  !  but  I  §ee  too 
late  that  an  iron  wall  separates  us  forever." 

"  Do  you  know  already  ?"  I  asked  impatiently. 
"Did  my  sister  confide  it  to  you  ?  Believe  me,  long 
ago  my  heart  felt  guilty  of  cowardly  perjury  not 
to  have  confessed  everything  to  you;  you  would 
never  have  betrayed  me.  Yes,  I  am  a  Jew,  and 
will  stand  by  my  oppressed  brethren  in  the  faith 
as  long  as  a  breath  of  life  remains  in  me  ;  and  if  you 
can  desert  me,  well  and  good — you  never  loved  me. 
Go  to  your  uncle;  no  one  will  prevent  you." 

Manuela  stared  at  me  with  despairing  eyes. 

"  You  are  cruel,  Sefior,"  she  said;  "  I  should  never 
have  thought  you  could  be  so.  Who  has  given  you 
the  right  to  treat  me  with  such  scorn,  and  yet  that 
I  must  love  you  ?  Think  you  that  I  am  faint-hearted, 
and  ashamed  of  my  faith  ?  Say  outright — I  know 
you  adhere  to  Islam,  as  your  dead  father  did — and 
I  will  embrace  your  knees  and  beg  forgiveness, 
but  do  not  mock  me.     What  have  I  done  to  you  T' 

A  torrent  of  tears  choked  her  voice;  she  turned 
from  me  sobbing.  "  O  father,  father !"  she  cried, 
"  they  treat  your  child  so;  why  did  you  not  take 
me  with  you  into  your  grave  ?" 

I  called   down   all   the    curses   of  Heaven  on  my 



head  if  I  had  not  told  the  truth.  She  looked  at  me 
kindly  again,  and  the  tears  in  her  eyes  witnessed 
her  extreme  sorrow  for  the  injustice  she  had  done 
me,  and  for  the  awful  abyss  that  opened  before  our 

"  So  near,  and  yet  so  infinitely  far  !"  she  said, 
giving  me  her  hand  in  reconciliation.  I  besought 
her  by  all  her  former  depth  of  love. 

"  God  is  a  God  of  love  w^herever  he  is  wor- 
shipped— in  church,  mosque,  or  synagogue.  Were 
it  not  the  will  of  God,  should  we  have  found  and 
refound  each  other  ?"  In  fiery  words  I  placed  be- 
fore her  the  differences  of  creed  as  they  appeared  to 
lovers;  I  troubled  myself  but  little  about  what  was 
written  in  books  or  taught  by  priests.  God  for- 
give me,  I  should  not  like  to  answer  for  it  all  now. 
Manuela  but  half  listened  to  me,  and  cried  in  a 
heart-rending  voice: 

"  Lord  God,  destroy  me  n<3t  because  I  still  doubt. 
What  law  have  I  broken  that  you  should  lay  on  me 
so  intolerable  a  burden  ?  Can  I  cast  out  the  faith 
of  my  childhood  from  my  mind,  and  yet  live  ?  Why 
should  I,  even  I,  a  weak  girl,  be  fated  to  be  Moslem 
at  heart  and  Christian  in  appearance,  at  last  to 
give  the  lie  to  both  ?  Is  there  not  one  more  Temple 
through  which  I  may  be  hunted,  and  my  poor  heart 
torn  asunder  ?  My  father  was  wrong  to  throw  an 
old  gypsy  woman  down  the  steps,  as  he  did  three 
years  ago,  so  that  I  thought  she  would   never  get 



up  again;  he  did  it  because  she  prophesied  that  I 
should  not  die  in  my  present  faith,  and  that  I  was 
born  for  great  things:  I  wish  I  knew  what  the  great 
things  were  to  be.  If  the  old  witch  should  return, 
how  surprised  she  would  be  at  her  own  wisdom  !" 
A  shriek  of  horror  interrupted  Manuela's  words. 

"  It  is  black  art  that  plays  such  tricks  !"  she  cried, 
and  shrank  close  to  me  in  fear.  I  glanced  at  the 
door:  there  stood  an  old  gypsy  woman  leaning  on 
a  staff,  and  asking  me  for  alms  with  a  shrewd 
laugh.  I  soothed  Manuela,  who  trembled  all  over; 
she  recovered  herself,  however,  and  approaching 
the  gypsy  bravely,  asked: 

"Do  you  know  me?" 

"Why  not,  then  ?"  answered  the  old  woman,  and 
raised  her  grinning  face  to  hers.  "  Look,  I  have  a 
good  memorial  of  you — that  scar  over  my  left  eye, 
I  got  it  at  your  house  in  Seville.  What  do  you  say 
now  to  my  prophecies?   are  they  not  fulfilled  ?" 

"  I  do  not  know,"  answered  Manuela. 

"You  don't  know.     Ay,  ay,  but  I  know." 

"  Thank  you  very  much  for  your  wisdom,"  an- 
swered Manuela,  handing  her  a  present. 

"Just  a  minute  yet:  give  me  that  little  velvet 
hand;  I  know  many  another  thing." 

Manuela  only  half  opposed  her.  The  old  woman 
chuckled  so  much  when  she  had  looked  at  the  lines 
on  the  hand  for  a  time,  that  her  stick  fell  from  her 

FATHER  AND    SON.  03 

"That  is  beyond  everything,"  she  cried.  "  Look 
here!  such  a  finely  marked  life-line  I  have  only  had 
to  look  at  once  before:  a  handsome  knight  will 
come  and  carry  you  over  the  sea;  you  may  rely  on 
it;  it  is  as  certainly  true — as  true  as  that  I  would  I 
were  as  young  and  fair  as  you.  Do  you  see  that 
little  line  that  goes  across  there?  That  means 
much  sorrow  and  heartache.  But  wait  a  minute; 
you  must  listen  to  this:  that  is  a  fine  boy  that  you 
will  bear.  You  need  not  turn  so  red.  There  is  a 
bold,  widely  famed  knight,  whom  no  one  can  stand 
against  in  the  lists;  he  gives  his  strokes  with  such  a 
sure,  quiet  aim,  that  all  his  adversaries  are  stretched 
on  the  sand;  that  circle  outwards,  that  is  a  crown 
he  refuses." 

Such,  and  much  more  such,  were  the  fool's  jests 
that  the  garrulous  old  woman  told  us;  I  still  won- 
der at  myself  for  having  retained  such  nonsense  in 
my  memory.  Manuela  seemed,  however  much  she 
tried  to  hide  it,  to  believe  more  than  I;  I  never 
cared  much  for  such  things,  and  we  have  the  clear- 
est evidence  now  as  to  what  they  are  worth.  She 
would  have  prophesied  for  me  also,  but  I  had  other 
things  to  do  and  think  of.  I  gave  her  money,  and 
told  her  to  go  on  her  way. 

By  this  strange  incident  Manuela's  extreme  agi- 
tation, which  had  made  me  tremble,  was  happily 
diverted.  I  now  quietly  represented  the  case  to  her, 
and  she,  too,  was  quiet.     I  was  obliged  to  promise 



not  to  disturb  her  with  another  word  until  the  next 

"  I  will  think  over  it  all  faithfully  and  conscien- 
tiously," she  said;  ''no  one  may,  no  one  can,  advise 
me  here." 

When  I  awoke  next  morning  my  first  thought 
was:  to-day  the  course  of  my  whole  future  life  will 
be  decided.  It  is  not  possible  in  such  emergencies 
to  remain  master  of  our  thoughts;  anxiety  and  im- 
patience disturb  us  too  much.  I  hastened  out  on 
to  the  Alameda,  spurred  my  horse,  as  if  I  could 
quicken  the  time  like  his  paces  and  make  the  seconds 
run  on,  that  I  might  at  last  go  to  Manuela. 

"  God  alone  knows  how  I  have  struggled,"  she 
said  as  she  came  to  me.  "You  have  won;  but  I 
entreat  you,  let  us  go  away  from  here.  I  can  bear 
this  place  no  longer."     I  told  my  father  everything. 

"You  have  not  done  well,  my  son,"  said  he,  "to 
put  such  unequal  weights  in  the  scale;  what  you 
tell  me  is  no  news  to  me:  but  the  maiden  should 
not  have  been  won  to  our  faith  and  family  with  a 
broken  spirit.  I  will  explain  to  her  all  the  hard 
duties  which  our  faith  enjoins,  all  the  sorrows  it 
is  still  condemned  to  bear;  if  then  she  still  holds 
to  her  decision,  may  God  grant  his  blessing,  and 
make  her  the  mother  of  a  pious  progeny !" 

Manuela  stood  firm. 

There  was  now  nothing  to  prevent  our  departure. 
When  we  had  with  much  difficulty  put  our  posses- 




sions  into  a  portable-  form,  Immanuel  started  with 
our  sister  and  Manuela,  for  we  were  obliged  to  do 
our  utmost  to  avoid  attracting  notice.  The  night 
after,  I  followed  with  my  father.  I  could  hardly 
restrain  my  tears  as  we  slipped  through  the  familiar 
streets  like  thieves,  surrounded  by  fear  and  dark- 
ness. Oh  !  we  loved  our  step-fatherland  with  all 
our  hearts;  I  feel  it  now.  My  father  did  not  utter 
a  syllable.  When  the  red  dawn  first  rose  he  com- 
manded me  there  to  take  the  sun  to  my  witness, 
and  swear  by  God  Almighty,  that  I  would  not  take 
Manuela  to  me  as  my  own  till  she  was  accepted 
into  our  faith  and  bound  to  me  in  the  bonds  of 

We  overtook  the  others,  and  arrived  after  many 
difficulties  at  Oporto.  There  we  dwelt  with  the 
father  of  Uriel  da  Costa  till  the  day  of  our  depart- 
ure. We  met  Mendez  Henrico  from  Madrid  here; 
he  left  an  honorable  post  at  court,  and  a  passion- 
ately beloved  bride,  to  confess  his  faith  with  his 
brethren  in  a  distant  land.  He  was  a  taciturn  fel- 
low-traveller. A  fearful  curse,  such  as  no  tongue 
of  man  ever  spoke  before,  he  called  down  on  un- 
happy Spain  as  we  raised  the  anchor;  his  eyes 
rolled  like  a  madman's,  he  gnashed  his  teeth  and 
stamped  his  foot,  till  I  was  afraid  of  his  wrath,  and 
strove  to  soothe  him.  Without  replying,  or  even 
looking  round,  he  went  to  the  other  end  of  the 
ship,  leant  against  a  coil  of  ropes  in  a  lonely  corner, 


and  cowered  down.     I  had  enough   to  do  for  my 
own  people,  and  left  Henrico  to  his  own  devices. 

Our  journey  was  fair  in  the  beginning;  the  change 
of  scene  reawakened  Manuela's  gayety.  But  my 
father  fell  ill  the  first  evening.  He  tried,  as  here- 
tofore, to  avert  the  evil  by  strong  medicines:  but  it 
was  no  use;  he  grew  worse  from  hour  to  hour. 

"  It  is  strange,"  he  said  to  me  once,  as  I  sat  be- 
side his  bed:  "here  I  Heboid  child  that  I  am,  in  a 
great  cradle,  that  will  rock  the  life  out  of  me.  Do 
not  throw  my  body  out  on  to  the  cold  flood.  As 
Joseph  once  his  brethren,  so  I  conjure  you,  my 
children,  take  my  bones  and  bury  them  in  the  land 
whereto  the  Lord  will  lead  you;  I  feel  that  my  eyes 
will  never  see  it  more." 

I  tried  to  divert  him  from  such  thoughts,  but  he 
said:  "I  know  my  hours  are  numbered.  I  have  ex- 
perienced much  joy  and  much  sorrow  in  this  world; 
glory  and  thanks  be  to  the  Lord  our  God  for  both  ! 
Come,  call  my  children — Manuela  too;  she  also  is 
my  child;  you  will  be  happy  with  her.  Do  not 
weep,"  he  said  to  them  as  they  entered.  "  I  sink 
into  the  grave  in  peace,  for  I  know  that  you  will  go 
on  unmolested,  and  may  live  at  peace  with  your 
God;  but  should  an  oppressor's  hand  repulse  you, 
despair  not,  for  the  law  of  our  God,  the  Infinite  and 
only  One,  will  one  day  be  gloriously  recognized  h^ 
all  nations." 

My  father  talked  much  longer  about  the  regu- 



lation  of  our  future  life;  his  approaching  death 
seemed  to  have  lent  him  insight  into  unknown  con- 
tingencies. He  blessed  us  each  singly,  and  de- 
parted after  a  few  hours  with  prayerful  lips.  Since 
then  I  have  seen  the  spirits  of  many  depart  from 
the  body,  but  I  have  never  since  seen  so  celestially 
peaceful  a  countenance.  Our  tears  flowed  plen- 
teously,  but  Manuela  wept  most  violently;  she  was 
an  orphan  a  second  time.  When  a  return  of  life 
to  the  body  was  hopeless,  we  emptied  a  large  chest 
quietly,  and  wrapped  the  corpse  in  the  winding- 
sheet  my  mother  had  prepared.  A  bag  of  earth 
from  the  promised  land,  for  which  my  father  had 
given  much  gold,  lay  beside  the  shroud.  We 
placed  this  holy  earth  under  his  head,  and  laid 
the  coffin  in  the  lowest  cabin,  where  my  brother 
watched  it. 

It  was  a  foggy  morning  when  we  proceeded  on- 
ward. Towards  midday  a  violent  storm  arose,  with 
all  the  horrors  of  which  I  had  hitherto  only  heard 
the  narration  in  the  numerous  stories  of  my  father's 
travels.  I  thanked  God  that  he  had  spared  him 
this  fresh  affliction,  and  sought  by  these  thoughts 
to  soothe  the  trembling  maidens. 

The  captain  came  to  us,  and  ordered  us  in  few 
words  to  bring  him  the  chest  immediately  wherein 
the  corpse  lay,  that  he  might  not  be  obliged  to 
overturn  everything,  and  lose  much  time  thereby; 
it  was  a  well-known  rule  that  the  sea  would  not 


become  smooth  until  the  corpse  that  a  ship  might 
hold  was  given  up  as  an  offering.  I  tried  to  pacify 
him,  but  was  foolish  enough  to  strive  to  show  him 
the  absurdity  of  his  superstition.  He  had  nearly 
stabbed  me  for  my  advice,  if  Manuela  had  not  held 
his  arm.  I  would  have  left  my  father's  last  wishes 
only  unfulfilled  by  my  death,  and  prepared  for  op- 
position; the  girls  wailed  and  wept;  the  whole  ship's 
company  came,  and  I  was  obliged  to  comply. 
When  we  had  loaded  the  coffin  with  ballast,  that 
it  might  sink,  I  came  with  it  into  the  raging  ele- 
ments, and  with  a  bleeding  heart  saw  how  the  high 
swelling  waves  closed  over  the  offered  prey.  For 
a  long  time  my  rest  was  sunk  with  it.  The  whole 
ship  was  in  frightful  commotion;  one  man  alone 
stood  unmoved  amid  the  uproar:  it  was  Mendez 
Henrico.  A  cocked  pistol  in  one  hand,  and  holding 
on  with  all  his  strength  to  a  rope  with  the  other,  he 
stood  on  the  deck. 

"  What  do  you  want .?  are  you  mad  ?"  I  cried  to 
him;  he  smiled  pityingly. 

"Do  you  see  the  sea  there?"  he  said;  "do  you 
see  ?  It  is  a  great  font;  we  shall  all  be  baptized 
there  according  to  the  rites  of  the  Greek  Church; 
but  they  shall  not  compel  me  to  it  while  I  live — 
they,  whom  the  elements  deceive  so  slavishly.  If 
that  breaks  (here  he  pointed  to  the  mast),  this  ball 
shall  burn  in  my  heart;  I  will  not — "  At  that  mo- 
ment the  mast  crashed  down,  a  shot  resounded,  and 



Henrico  fell  head  first  overboard.  I  felt  crushed 
by  all  that  was  around  me;  we  were  playthings  in 
the  hands  of  the  storm. 

My  son,  whoever  would  learn  what  is  the  good 
of  his  own  life  and  of  what,  he  knows  of  the  world, 
and  what  is  worthless  in  it,  he  will  learn  it  best  if 
he  be  placed  with  all  he  is  and  has  on  the  boundless 
ocean.  During  that  storm  and  the  ensuing  calm  I 
saw  deeper  into  the  meaning  of  things  than  ever 
before.  It  was  to  me  like  the  forty  years'  wander- 
ing in  the  wilderness  of  our  forefathers;  the  old 
generation  shall  not  enter  into  the  promised  land; 
it  died  out  in  me,  and  a  new  man  saw  the  abode  of 
freedom  before  him. 

We  landed  at  last  in  Antwerp,  and  it  was  in  a 
season  of  mourning  that  I  first  learnt  to  love  our 
new  home. 

For  thirty  days,  as  the  law  ordains,  I  mourned 
for  my  father;  but  for  a  much  longer  period  I  de- 
plored my  inability  to  carry  out  his  last  wishes. 
Manuela  was  meanwhile  accepted  as  a  member  of 
the  Jewish  congregation,  and  at  her  side  I  found 
that  peace  and  happiness  for  which  I  eternally 
thank  God.  We  had  both  many  hard  struggles  in 
life.  We  had  both  imagined  the  exercise  of  Juda- 
ism in  a  free  community  to  be  a  very  different 
thing;  we  did  not  know  how  strong  the  ties  of 
habit  were  in  us,  and  I  especially  could  not  re- 
concile myself  to  the  mere  freedom   to  live  a  life 


hemmed  in  by  a  thousand  religious  observances. 
God  Almighty  will  forgive  my  sins,  I  have  learned 
to  know  that  His  Holy  Will  is  over  all,  and  that 
the  observance  of  the  Law  alone  leads  to  him.  We 
have  devoted  all  we  have  to  the  end  that  our  chil- 
dren might  grow  up  in  the  peace  of  true  faith.  Be 
thankful  for  it.     You  above  all,  my  son. 

Such  is  the  story  of  my  life  and  of  my  love,  writ- 
ten for  my  only  son,  Baruch,  alone. 



BARUCH'S  hand  trembled  as  he  laid  the  pages 
aside,  and  his  brow  was  hot  as  he  leant  it  on 
his  hand. 

What  confusion  there  is  in  the  life  of  humanity 
thus  divided  into  races  and  sects,  each  one  of 
which  hates  and  persecutes  the  other,  and'  thinks 
itself  alone  wise  and  righteous  !  Thus  the  Temples 
become  encampments,  where  the  watchword  given 
out  is  salvation  to  the  initiated,  damnation  to  all 
the  rest. 

A  voice  stronger  and  more  piercing  than  that  of 
the  synagogue  now  called  upon  Baruch  to  pro- 
nounce the  blessing  on  the  revealed  unwritten  Law, 
whose  two  pillars  are  freedom  from  all  shackles  of 
race  or  creed,  and  love  to,  all  mankind.  Had  not 
Maimonides  already  taught  that  "  the  pious  of  all 
religions  shall  inherit  eternal  felicity  ?"  Baruch 
was  no  longer  a  son  of  Israel  only;  he  was  the  child 
of  humanity.  It  was  not  his  descent  alone  that 
gave  him  this  impulse  thus  to  classify  himself, 
though  possibly  it  was  the  first  motive.  The  spirit 
of  life,  the  Spirit  of  God,  seized  upon  him,  carried 

102  SPINOZA, 

him  over  all  boundaries,  and  held  him  firm  and  free 
in  blissful  uncertainty. 

At  first  when  his  father  called  him  on  the  mor- 
row he  remembered  with  difficulty  who  and  where 
he  was.  He  returned  the  manuscript  to  his  father 
and  kissed  his  hand:  he  held  his  son's  hand  fast  in 
his,  and  walked  with  him  to  the  synagogue. 

Baruch  answered  the  congratulations  of  those 
who  waited  at  the  door  of  the  place  of  worship  to 
honor  him  on  his  attainment  of  the  Rabbinical  dig- 
nity but  absently  and  inappropriately.  The  people 
thought  him  conceited. 

This  supposition  had  some  truth  in  it  when 
after  early  service  on  the  Sunday  morning  he  went, 
with  his  richly  clasped  folio  under  his  arm,  along 
the  road  to  the  school  called  the  "  Crown  of  Law." 

With  what  joyous  haste  he  had  formerly  trodden 
that  path — and  now  he  stared  confusedly  about 
him,  almost  stumbling  at  every  step.  A  feeling  of 
mingled  sadness  and  pride  filled  his  heart:  must 
he  still  follow  this  road  as  before;  still  study  the 
same  books,  and  what  new  thing  could  he  find  in 
them?  He  had  attained  the  rank  of  Rabbi,  .the 
highest  attainable  in  this  career,  and  he  must  go  on 
studying  the  same  subjects  by  which  men  merely 
sharpened  their  cleverness  into  conceit.  He  was 
familiar  with  all  that  could  be  learnt  there;  what 
was  the  use  of  eternal  repetition  ?  But  more  pain- 
ful   still  was   the  thought  that  he  had  become  a 


Stranger  to  it,  for  the  experience  of  the  previous 
day  had  lifted  him  above  all  that  was  customary  to 
him.  Was  it  not  a  sin  to  go  on  just  the  same  as  if 
nothing  had  happened  ?  The  Jewish  community 
and  its  doctrines  no  longer  formed  the  heart  of  the 
world,  all  the  rest  being  but  its  shell.  Houses 
were  built  there,  ships  launched,  streets  laid  out, 
indifferent  to  this  narrow  circle;  bells  tolled  and 
called  to  the  worship  of  other  sanctuaries.  Where 
is  centred  the  life  of  the  world?  The  boy,  ripened 
into  a  courageous  youth,  would  willingly  have  pen- 
etrated' to  those  eternal  halls, — and  it  was  but  the 
door  of  the  School  of  Law  that  opened  to  him  now. 
He  could  not  understand  that  this  world  had  not 
suddenly  changed  to  another,  because  it  seemed  to 
have  changed  to  him.  Why  was  it  impossible, 
when  thus  awakened  to  conscious  existence,  to 
begin  life  anew  ? 

The  world  goes  on  in  its  accustomed  grooves. 

The  wounds  of  e^rly  youth  heal  quickly;  doubts 
are  soon  extinguished,  whether  in  forgetfulness  or 
in  habitual  repression  by  the  will. 

When  Baruch  had  entered  the  school  he  was,  as 
is  the  habit  of  youth,  quickly  engaged  with  the 
immediate  interest  of  the  moment;  all  others  had 
vanished.  Rabbi  Saul  Morteira  pointed  to  the 
place  on  his  left;  that  on  his  right  hand  Chisdai 
held  by  right  of  seniority.  The  other  students  sat 
at  the  long  table  in  order  of  age  or  attainments,  "at 

i04  SPINOZA. 

the  feet  of  the  Rabbi."  The  master  commanded 
Baruch  to  read  out  the  Friday's  unfinished  extract. 
It  was  the  place  in  the  Talmud  tractate,  Kiduschin, 
folio  2  2,     Baruch  read: 

"  It  is  written,  Deuteronomy  xxi.  lo:  'When  thou 
goest  forth  to  war  with  thine  enemies,  and  the 
Lord  thy  God  hath  delivered  them  into  thine  hands, 
that  thou  hast  taken  them  captive,  and  seest  among 
the  captives  a  beautiful  woman,  and  hast  a  desire 
unto  her  that  thou  wouldst  have  her  to  thy  wife: 
.  .  .  This  indulgence  is  granted  because  the  Israel- 
ites had  not  abstained  therefrom;  and  it  is  better 
that  they  should  do  that  w^hich  is  permitted  than 
that  they  should  do  that  which  is  forbidden.  ' " 

Baruch  had  hardly  read  for  a  few  minutes,  when 
a  violent  dispute  arose  between  him  and  Chisdai. 
The  great  schoolman,  Rabbi  Samuel  Edels,  had 
added  a  problem  to  this  proposition,  and  ended 
with  the  words,  "a  solution  is  to  be  found  for 

Chisdai  thought  he  had  discovered  it,  but  one 
of  the  youngest  scholars  at  the  lower  end  of  the 
table  made  him  in  a  few  words  the  butt  of  uni- 
versal ridicule.  Chisdai  sprang  up,  and  would 
have  stormed  the  saucy  youth  into  silence,  but 
Baruch  stood  up  and  ranged  himself  on  the  side  of 
the  boy.  Chisdai  turned  to  the  adversary  whom 
he  deemed  his  equal;  he  drew  himself  up  and 
stretched  out  his  bedaubed  fingers  till  they  stood 



out  like  a  palisade  of  notes  of  exclamation:  he 
laughed  compassionately,  and  with  ironic  aston- 
ishment shook  his  learned  head  over  the  weak 
grounds  taken  against  him;  but  Baruch  pressed 
him  more  and  more  hotly,  till  at  last  Chisdai,  shak- 
ing himself  free,  rushed  at  his  opponent;  he  seized 
him  by  his  cloak  and  would  not  allow  him  to  say 
another  word.  Chisdai  struck  the  table,  turned  him- 
self from  side  to  side,  first  to  one  and  then  another; 
it  was  all  no  good.  Baruch  had  placed  him  in  a 
dilemma  by  his  tranquillity,  from  which  he  could 
not  free  himself.  Chisdai  sat  down  and  bit  his 
nails.    Baruch  quite  simply  explained  the  problem. 

*^  It  seems  strange  to  me,"  he  then  said,  "  that  a 
thing  should  be  permitted  because  it  was  done; 
that  could  be  done  in  many  another  case  as  well." 

"  The  punishment  of  him  who  marries  a  gentile 
follows  immediately,"  said  Chisdai  with  a  delighted 
face  that  no  one  understood  but  Baruch  and  him- 
self; "  for,  as  the  Talmud  says,  directly  after  these 
verses  follow  those  of  the  rebellious  son,  because  of 
such  a  marriage  only  the  godless  could  be  the  fruit." 

Baruch  did  not  answer  him.  "  Then  is  this  the 
conclusion,"  he  inquired  of  the  Rabbi,  "  that  a  mar- 
riage with  a  gentile  is  no  sin  ?" 

"You  see  that  it  is  so,"  replied  the  Rabbi,  "but 
only  in  time  of  war." 

"  Can  God  make  one  law  for  war  and  another 
for  peace  ?" 


"  Why  not  ?  There  are  many  laws  that  refer  only 
to  Palestine.  Stand  by  the  word:  here  it  speaks 
only  of  war,  not  of  peace." 

"Excuse  me,"  persisted  Baruch;  "I  must  ask 
something  else.  Just  after  this  verse  it  stands 
written:  If  a  man  have  two  wives,  he  loves  one  but 
not  the  other;  the  permission  to  wed  many  wives 
is  granted  for  war  and  peace,  for  Palestine  and  other 
lands;   why  is  it  no  longer  so  ?" 

"  You  know  well  enough  that  Rabbi  Gerschon, 
'  the  Light  of  the  Exile,'  laid  those  of  all  time  under 
the  ban  who  should  wed  more  than  one  wife." 

'■'  But  how  dare  he  do  so,  since  it  is  nowhere  for- 
bidden in  the  Holy  Scriptures;  and  according  to 
the  Talmud,  King  Solomon  was  merely  forbidden 
to  wed  more  than  eighteen  wives .''" 

"I  believe  you  think,"  replied  the  Rabbi,  *' that 
the  Sanhedrim  of  Mainz  did  not  know  that  as  well 
as  you.  I  cannot  now  explain  everything,  you  are 
not  alone  here;  if  you  ask  sophistical  questions,  I 
cannot  keep  the  others  waiting  till  I  answer  them. 
Chisdai,  read  on." 

Chisdai  did  as  commanded.  The  whole  reading 
was  in  a  tone  commonly  believed  to  be  traditional; 
half  melancholy  chanting,  half  recitation  as  of  a 
litany,  as  little  according  to  the  rules  of  declama-, 
mation  or  music  as  a  grammar  would  be  according 
to  rule  if  extracted  from  the  Babel  of  dialects  in 
the  Talmud.     Each  student  sought  to  combine  new 



problems  from  the  many  sophistical  questions  in 
the  text  and  their  numerous  commentaries,  again 
to  be  drawn  out  in  striking  syllogisms,  etc.  In  spite 
of  the  license  of  intellectual  activity  shown  on  all 
sides,  a  certain  defined  order  was  unmistakable. 
The  Rabbi  listened  carefully  to  all  the  questions, 
and  then,  according  as  he  considered  the  solution 
easy  or  difficult,  he  called  upon  this  one  or  that  to 
answer  it. 

Chisdai,  who  sat  next  to  the  Rabbi's  chair,  nodded 
kindly  to  the  younger  ones,  whose  first  efforts  in 
dialectic  made  them  timid,  with  condescending  en- 
couragement. He  smiled  like  a  general,  who,  in  the 
anticipation  of  speedy  advancement,  claps  his  sub- 
ordinate good-naturedly  on  the  shoulder  when  he 
has  successfully  led  in  some  small  skirmish.  When 
a  pause  intervened,  he  brought  two  plainly  opposed 
views  of  the  great  Maimonides  into  the  field  of 
battle,  while  against  the  views  here  laid  down  he 
brought  up  one  of  contrary  signification  from  the 
tractate  of  Chetuboth,  with  much  circumlocution 
and  cunning.     All  were  silent. 

"  Now,  Baruch,  what  do  you  say  to  that  ?"  asked 
the  Rabbi.  Baruch  aroused  himself  as  if  from  a 
dream,  for  he  had  been  employed  on  a  very  differ- 
ent train  of  thought. 

*'  Now  Baruch,  what  do  you  say  to  what  Chisdai 
advances  ?"  repeated  the  Rabbi. 

"  He  is  perfectly  correct,"  was  the  quick  answer. 


A  peal  of  laughter,  begun  by  Chisdai,  echoed 
from  one  end  of  the  table  to  the  other. 

"  Where  are  your  thoughts  again  ?"  asked  the 
Rabbi  softly.  "  Not  on  his  words  alone,  but  on  his 
thoughts,  a  man  must  place  a  curb.  Now  who  can 
answer  Chisdai's  question  ?" 

No  one  replied.  Then  Chisdai  triumphantly 
brought  forward  a  finely  woven  chain  of  arguments 
and  authorities,  Avith  which  he  brilliantly  solved  the 
apparently  insoluble  problem.  Baruch  tried  forcibly 
to  master  his  wandering  thoughts;  with  painful 
diligence  he  repeated  the  words  of  the  text  before 
him:  it  was  all  of  no  use;  his  mind  unconsciously 
glided  over  the  words  to  other  subjects.  He  soon 
gave  up  the  application  afforded  him  by  the  whole 
discussion  to  his  mother's  history;  the  doubts  which 
had  arisen  in  him  as  to  the  eternal  validity  and  im- 
mutability of  the  Law,  he  thought  he  had  repressed 
by  persuading  himself  that  his  teacher  was  not 
sufficiently  learned  to  answer  such  questions,  or 
held  him  as  yet  unworthy  to  partake  of  the  tree  of 
knowledge.  Much  that  had  been  nearly  erased 
from  his  memory  arose  within  him  again  fresher 
than  ever,  and  he  was  glad  when  he  heard  his  fel- 
low pupils  close  their  great  folios,  and  the  Rabbi 
rise  with  a  heavy  sigh. 

At  home  he  sat  down  to  table  in  silence  with  a 
feeling  of  general  discontent.  His  father  left  him 
undisturbed,    but    Miriam    looked    at   him    inquir- 



ingly.  They  talked  of  the  approaching  departure 
of  Rodrigo  Casseres,  and  the  anticipated  company 
of  his  family. 

"  What  is  the  matter  with  you  to-day,  Baruch  ?" 
asked  his  father  when  the  meal  was  over.  "You 
used  always  to  recollect  the  saying  of  '  the  fathers ': 
'  When  three  sit  together  at  table  and  speak  no 
godly  word,  it  is  as  though  they  partook  of  a 
funeral  feast.'  Must  I  remind  you  to  read  a  pas- 
sage from  the  Mishna  before  grace  ?" 

Baruch  rose,  fetched  the  handsome  quarto,  and 
repeated  the  paragraphs  before  him.  To-day,  for 
the  first  time,  he  found  it  tiresome  that  he  could 
not  put  a  bit  between  his  teeth  without  some  con- 
sideration of  the  old  laws. 

"  I  have  already  thought  about  your  wishes  to- 
day," said  his  father;  *'  I  have  found  you  a  Latin 
master.  But  go  on  reading;  I  will  tell  you  after- 

Baruch  read  the  appointed  number  of  verses  more 
quickly  than  usual,  but  not  to  betray  to  his  father 
by  ending  too  soon  how  much  interested  he  was  in 
the  deferred  information,  he  read  two  more  para- 
graphs; his  thoughts,  however,  did  not  follow  the 
lines  his  eyes  and  mouth  read.  He  ascribed  this 
fault  to  his  father's  words,  for  he  would  not  confess 
to  himself,  or  was  not  fully  conscious,  what  an  im- 
measurable change  had  come  over  him.  He  closed 
the  book,  and  looked  expectantly  at  his  father,  who 


commanded  him  to  repeat  the  long  Hebrew  grace. 
Lucky  force  of  habit  !  If  Baruch  had  not  repeated 
this  prayer  several  times  daily  since  his  earliest 
childhood,  he  would  now  have  made  many  stumbles 
therein;  for  while  thanking  God  for  bodily  nourish- 
ment, and  praying  for  the  rebuilding  of  Jerusalem, 
his  mind  passed  to  the  gods  of  Rome  and  Athens, 
and  rejoiced  in  the  intellectual  nourishment  which 
Aristotle  and  the  Roman  historians  would  offer 

After  the  "  Amen"  his  father  rose  and  lighted  a 
cigar,  saying: 

"  When  I  have  smoked  this,  Baruch,  we  will  go 
together  to  Salomon  de  Silva.  I  bit  the  sour  apple 
unwillingly  at  first,  but  it  was  so  easily  arranged, 
that  I  have  quite  given  up  all  opposition.  I  ac- 
companied Rodrigo  Casseres  to  the  Amstel  to-day, 
where  he  took  the  boat  for  Leyden;  and  as  I  was 
returning,  our  friend  the  Doctor  met  me.  I  doubt 
the  people  make  much  too  much  of  your  dignity  of 
Rabbi;  do  not  let  them  make  you  conceited  with 
such  talk." 

*'  Certainly  not,"  answered  Baruch,  without  look- 
ing up.  How  changed  his  father  was  to-day ! 
Where  was  his  Sabbath  elation  gone  to  ? 

"  One  must  always  go  on  advancing;  that  is  the 
principal  thing,"  continued  his  father.  "While  I 
was  speaking  to  the  Doctor,  I  recollected  my  prom- 
ise;  and  Silva  said   he   could  recommend   such  a 


Latin  master  to  me,   that  half  Europe  could  not 
show  his  equal." 

Baruch  and  his  father  went  together  to  the  phy- 

"  I  have  been  expecting  you  for  a  long  time,"  he 
said,  "and  Magister  Nigritius  expected  me  to  come 
to  him  this  morning," 

The  praise  that  Baruch  now  received  personally 
from  the  physician  was  doubly  painful  to  him;  he 
felt  so  unworthy  of  it  since  his  inner  experiences 
and  the  day's  events  in  the  school. 

What  if  it  were  a  foreordained  necessity  that  he 
should  become  an  apostate  ?  Baruch  trembled  now 
at  the  fulfilment  of  his  ardently  desired  wish. 

If  apostasy  were  a  necessity,  who  could  oppose 

"  I  have  felt  a  disinclination,"  said  his  father,  as 
the  three  proceeded  together  to  the  house,  "  to  my 
son's  learning  Latin,  and  still  more  to  letting  him 
learn  it  from  a  Christian.  I  once  heard  the  saying 
in  the  Talmud,  '  Cursed  is  he  who  allows  his  son 
to  study  the  learning  of  the  Greeks.*  Nothing  else 
turned  Acosta's  head;  if  in  all  his  days  he  had  never 
seen  Latin  or  Greek,  I  could  swear  he  might  now 
be  living  among  us  in  peace  of  mind,  honor  and 

"  With  all  respect  for  your  words,  my  dear  Ben- 
jamin," said  the  Doctor,  "  you  are  a  skilful  mer- 
chant, and  know  how  and  when  to  effect  a  sale  of 

112         ,  SPINOZA. 

the  rose-wood  and  cinnamon  the  East  India  Com- 
pany bring  you,  but  in  this  case  you  must  let  others 
teach  you.  I  cannot  believe  that  you  too  are  one 
of  those  who  forget  their  own  youth  and  would 
bring  the  darkness  of  the  Poles  down  on  us.  For 
the  respect  and  honor  which  we  enjoy  (here  the 
Doctor's  looks  partook  of  pride),  we  have  only  to 
thank  the  fact  that  in  secular  learning  we  can 
speak  a  word  as  well  as  the  others.  It  is  another 
thing  whether  to  learn  it  from  a  Christian  or  not. 
But  your  Baruch  is  so  familiar  with  the  Bible  and 
the  Talmud,  that  against  any  evidence  they  might 
adduce  from  the  Bible  for  the  Messiahship  of  Jesus, 
he  could  easily  find  counter-evidence;  and  it  is 
generally  the  pious  Christians  who  would  leave 
everyone  to  his  own  faith:  the  freethinkers  among 
the  Christians  are  much  more  to  be  feared;  they 
could  ruin  our  youths;  for  he  who  would  deny  the 
foundations  of  all  religion— he  is  the  true  betrayer. 
True  learning,  however,  leads  back  again  to  faith." 
The  learned  Doctor  enlarged  yet  more  on  his 
theme;  for  he  not  only  wanted  to  show  off  his 
knowledge  of  theological  and  philosophical  learn- 
ing, rare  indeed  in  a  physician,  but  wished  to  have 
his  rude  beginning  forgotten.  He  had  not  finished 
when  he  entered  the  house  of  Magister  Nigritius, 
and  as  he  somewhat  noisily  mounted  the  five  steps, 
he  gave  his  companions  regulations  how  to  behave 
to  the  man  whom  they  visited.     They  at  last  reached 



a  landing,  whose  floor  showed  many  cracks.  The 
Doctor  opened  the  door:  a  little  man  with  a 
greenish-yellow  complexion,  and  a  neutral-tinted, 
ink-spotted  dressing-gown,  sprang  up  to  meet  him, 
stumbling  over  some  folios  that  lay  on  the  floor, 

'■^  Eureka  carissime  amice /''"^  cried  the  Magister. 
^^  Marsi,  not  Mauri,  is  the  reading.  Look,  Horace 
wishes  to  derive  the  descent  of  Augustus  from  the 
God  of  War,  and  says: 

*  Quern  juvat  clamor,  galeaque  leves, 
Acer  et  Mauri  peditis  cruendum 
Vultus  in  hostem.'  f 

But  the  Moors  are  neither  warlike  nor  brave. 
Here  is  a  passage  in  Hirtius  on  the  African  war, 
where  less  than  thirty  Gauls  drove  two  thousand 
Moorish  cavalry  from  their  position;  and  the  Moors 
had  no  infantry.  Also  the  Moors  were  their  enemies 
then,  and  the  conquered  foe  over  whom  Mars  re- 
joices was  a  Roman — how  stupid  and  unpatriotic ! 
So  I  read  it  Marsi^  and  the  Marsian  infantry  were 
the  boldest  among  the  Italians,  of  which  there  are 
many  proofs  in  Strabo,  Appian,  and  Vergil,  and 
two  passages  in  Horace  show  the  same.  You  see, 
with  this  conjecture  alone  I  can  so  fill  the  mouth 
of  that  boaster,  Kaspar  Barläus,  that  he  will  have 

*  Found,  my  worthy  friend  ! 

f  The  din  of  battle  and  the  glittering  helms  delight,  and  the 
Moorish  foot-soldiers  furious  look  at  the  bleeding  enemy. 

1 14  SPINOZA. 

had  enough  for  his  life.  Ah,  my  dear  Doctor, 
how  lucky  I  am  to  have  a  man  to  whom  I  can  tell 
all  this,  and  who  knows  how  to  value  such  a  dis- 
covery! Ever  since  this  morning  I  have  been  wait- 
ing impatiently  for  you.  I  cannot  understand  now 
how  they  could  have  thought  for  so  long  that  the 
most  refined  of  Romans  would  have  praised  the 
stupid  Moors.     Sit  down,  my  dear  Doctor/* 

The  Magister  placed  some  open  books  that  lay 
on  a  chair  carefully  on  the  floor.  He  now  first  paid 
his  respects  to  the  two  strangers,  whom  he  had  not 
hitherto  appeared  to  notice.  Baruch  stared  before 
him  absently  during  the  long  commentary  of^the 
Magister;  he  pressed  his  lips  thoughtfully  together; 
it  seemed  to  him  as  if  to-day  all  the  world  con- 
spired to  remind  him  at  every  step  of  the  Moorish 
origin  of  his  mother. 

"What  do  they  want  with  me,''"  inquired  the 
Magister  irritably.  The  physician  appeased  him, 
and  said  they  had  a  request  to  make.  "  Sit  down 
here,"  the  Magister  said  to  the  father,  and  straight- 
ened his  arm-chair,  covered  with  brown  leather. 

"You,  young  man,  sit  by  me  on  the  bed." 

"  Have  you  nearly  finished  the  medicine  ?  and 
how  is  your  cough?"  inquired  the  physician. 

"  Optime.  Last  night  I  coughed  a  long  time  in 
bed,  and  when  I  had  extinguished  the  lamp,  the 
letters  still  swam  before  my  eyes;  then  it  first 
struck  me  that  the  reading  was  Mar  si,    I  cried  out 


for  joy.  For  fear  I  might  lose  the  glorious  discovery 
in  my  sleep,  I  sprang  out  of  bed;  but  if  I  had 
searched  myself  dead  I  should  never  have  found 
the  tinder-box.  Look!  there  it  is.  So  I  wrote  it  on 
the  floor  in  the  moonlight  there  with  chalk.  I  then 
went  quietly  to  sleep,  and  woke  early  this  morning 
in  a  perspiration;  so  the  cough  seems  to  have  gone 

"You  must  give  up  your  former  way  of  life," 
said  the  Doctor,  ''  and  in  the  coming  spring  leave 
your  cell  oftener,  or  else  I  will  not  answer  for  it;  if 
that  chest  cough  comes  back,  a  fever  of  joy  over  a 
lucky  guess  may  not  sweat  it  away." 

The  Magister  laughed  in  good-humored  incredu- 
lity. The  Doctor  now  brought  forward  his  request, 
and  Nigritius  agreed  to  it,  with  the  proviso  that 
Silva  must  be  answerable  for  it  if  the  boy  were  not 
clever  enough. 

"  How  old  are  you  ?"  he  asked  Baruch. 


"And  you  cannot  say  your  declensions?" 


"  Hum,  hum!"  grumbled  the  Magister.  ^^Arslonga^ 
vita  brevts,  says  Hippocrates;  at  fifteen  Hugo  Grotius 
had  already  made  his  learned  edition  of  Martianus 
Capella,  translated  into  Latin  Stevini's  art  of  navi- 
gation, and  so  amplified  the  'Phaenomena'  of  Ara- 
tus  that  no  one  knew  which  wrote  better  Latin, 
Cicero  or  he.     I  myself,  ut  at  minora  redeam^  had, 

I  1 6  SPINOZA. 

when  I  was  of  that  age,  already  made  such  a  Carmen 
that  Vergil  himself  could  not  have  pointed  out  a 
Germanism  or  a  false  quantity  in  it.  Fifteen!  But 
we  will  see:  diligentia  est  mater  studiorum — that  is,  you 
must  be  industrious." 

Baruch  promised,  and  the  Magister  continued: 

''  You  can  come  to  me  every  day  at  this  time, 
but  you  must  not  awaken  me  if  I  am  asleep. 
You  need  not  bring  any  books;  I  have  everything 

When  the  physician  had  repeated  his  congratula- 
tions on  the  lucky  guess,  he  left  the  house  of  the 
Magister  with  Baruch  and  his  father. 

"  You  know  I  wish  my  children  to  learn  every- 
thing, I  never  spare  in  that;  but  I  must  not  make 
myself  out  to  be  greater  than  I  am.  I  am  not  a 
rich  man,  so  I  must  know  what  the  Magister  re- 
quires. I  cannot  give  too  much  for  Baruch  alone, 
but  if  I  win  my  lawsuit  I  may  be  able  to  spend 
more  on  him;  now,  however,  I  must  remember  that. 
I  have  two  more  children."  So  spoke  the  father, 
and  the  physician  burst  into  a  loud  laugh. 

"What  are  you  laughing  at  now?"  he  asked 

"  Nothing,  except  that  you  take  the  Magister  for 
a  merchant;  why,  if  he  had  nothing  to  eat  to-mor- 
row, he  would  rather  starve  than  ask  a  penny  in 
pay  for  instruction.  Like  the  Rabbis  who  think  it 
a  sacred  task  to  instruct  any  one  in  the  Bible  an4 


Talmud,  So  does  he  with  Greek  and  Latin.  Shy  as 
he  is  of  his  fellows,  he  holds  all  mankind  alike  deaf 
to  his  heart  without  distinction;  and  timid  as  he 
looks  when  people  are  with  him,  he  is  bold,  nay, 
overbold,  against  them  when  he  has  hi§  pen  in  his 
hand,  and  his  ever-ready  companions  in  arms,  his 
books,  at  his  side.  By  means  of  his  extraordinary 
memory  he  can  any  minute  raise  a  whole  host  of 
witnesses.  This  Nigritius  is  a  truly  extraordinary 

"  It  is  a  dreary  life  to  live  so  much  alone,  not  a 
soul  near  him,  only  books,  books;  I  could  not  live 
like  that,"  said  Baruch. 

"I  believe  you,"  answered  the  physician.  "You 
see  that  is  another  unseen  though  incalculably  val- 
uable point  of  superiority  in  our  religion;  it  is  im- 
possible that  such  hermit  natures  should  arise  within 
it.  Unless  some  one  has  cut  loose  from  all  sacred 
duties, — which,  God  be  praised,  has  never  happened 
yet  unpunished,  and  which  would  not  be  permitted, 
how  could  any  one  manage  to  live  alone  ?  To  pray 
— three  times  a  day  in  company  with  at  least  ten  co- 
religionists, and  to  attend  the  synagogue  without 
fail  every  Sabbath  and  fast-day,  these  are  simple 
precepts  which  make  a  hermit's  seclusion  impossi- 
ble. And  such  narrow  pedantic  natures,  with  their 
minute  hair-splitting  and  small  so-called  love  of 
order,  which  are  so  common  in  this  country,  you 
never  meet  among  the  Jews;  that  comes  of  their 


quick  southern  blood."  The  theologizing  physician 
would  willingly  have  followed  up  this  newly  dis- 
covered idea,  but  the  father's  curiosity  interrupted 
him  with  the  question: 

"Where  does  the  Magister  come  from,  and  how 
does  he  keep  himself  ?" 

"  He  comes  from  Heidelberg,  a  German  town 
on  the  Rhine;*  his  name  is  Schwarz,  but,  like  all 
the  learned  men  of  the  day,  he  has  Latinized  it. 
He  does  not  like  to  talk  of  his  early  life;  but  in  an 
hour  of  sadness  he  once  confided  to  me  that  in 
the  war  which  has  now  lasted  full  thirty  years  his 
native  town  was  plundered  and  laid  in  ashes  by  the 
Imperial  troops.  He  was  fortunate  enough  to  save 
the  manuscripts  taken  from  the  University  library 
to  Rome  that  belonged  to  him;  he  fled  with  them, 
and  remained  deserted  here.  He  had  not  crossed 
the  boundaries  of  his  native  town  twice  in  his  life; 
in  Attica,  or  Latium,  he  knew  every  house  and  every 
road;  but  here  he  did  not  know  his  way  out  or  in. 
He  joined  a  company  of  exiles  and  came  here,  where 
he  has  now  lived  for  six-and-twenty  years.  The 
Heidelberg  Library  bought  back  his  manuscripts, 
which  he  had  enriched  with  valuable  comments.  Be- 
sides, he  undertakes  corrections  for  Gerhard  Vossius, 
his  countryman,  and  for  others.  The  best  emenda- 
tions in  the  ancient  classics  are  his,  and  no  one  knows 
them  to  be  so;  but  that  does  not  trouble  him.     It 

*  So  in  the  original;  it  is  on  the  Neckar.— TVöwj/.  note. 



verges  on  the  incredible  how  little  his  requirements 
are;  study  as  much  as  he  will,  he  is  the  same  one 
day  as  another,  always  gay  and  pleasant;  but  he 
knows  nothing  of  the  world.  He  is  long  past  sixty, 
but  he  is  as  inexperienced  as  a  child  of  ten  years 
old;  he  can  tell  you  easily  enough  how  many 
sesterces  Crassus  had  for  his  fortune;  but  if  he  pos- 
sessed twenty  stivers,  and  had  to  count  them,  he 
would  not  know  what  to  do  or  say  about  it.  It  is 
well  for  him  that  he  is  in  such  an  honest  house; 
Klaas  Ufmsand  and  his  wife,  good  Gertrui,  take 
care  of  everything  for  him.  I  tell  you  all  this, 
Baruch,  that  you  may  never  make  fun  of  him,  even 
if  he  is  rather  queer;  he  cannot  bear  ridicule. 
Even  if  he  often  thrashes  empty  straw,  he  is  so 
thoroughly  learned,  and  you  can  learn  so  much 
from  him,  that  you  must  always  treat  him  with 

"  Yes,  yes,"  said  his  father,  "if  you  do  not  learn 
Latin  with  him,  you  never  will  learn  it." 

From  this  time  forth  Baruch  went  to  the  Magister 
every  day.  He  soon  found  out  that  he  was  not  the 
man  to  introduce  him  to  the  famous  temple  of  clas- 
sical antiquity,  but  remembering  his  father's  threat, 
he  said  nothing  about  the  disappointment  of  his 

He  was  obliged  to  gnaw  at  the  hard  shell  of  the 
rudiments  of  Latin  grammar,  while  longing  so  ear- 
nestly to  get  at  the  nourishing  kernel.     Not  even 


the  intellectual  gymnastics  of  his  Talmud  studies 
were  in  these  empty  forms,  which  merely  required 
impressing  on  the  memory.  A  student  like  Baruch 
required  special  treatment.  A  mind  that  had  al- 
ready exercised  itself  on  the  highest  intellectual 
questions  was  far  beyond  the  degree  of  mere  re- 
ceptiveness;  and  only  what  he  could  work  out  for 
himself  he  truly  understood.  His  teacher  tried  to 
satisfy  Baruch's  impatience  with  the  assurance 

"  It  is  only  when  all  the  forms  are  in  the  head 
that  a  man  can  wander  inoffenso pede  in  the  paths  of 
classic  learning." 

Baruch  by  degrees  learned  his  teacher's  strange 
ways,  and  learned  to  respect  and  to  imitate  them. 
Just  this  steady  but  often  painfully  measured  prog- 
ress, which  admitted  of  no  haste,  still  less  allowed 
for  digressions,  even  this  hard  discipline  pleased 
him  after  the  showy  hair-splitting  of  the  Talmud- 
school.  He  constrained  himself  to  follow  this  reg- 
ulated pace,  and  his  master  appreciated  the  devo- 
tion, and  found  his  scholar  win  on  his  affections,  as 
he  rejoiced  daily  more  and  more  to  find  a  sympa- 
thetic mind  near  him.  He  promised  his  pupil  to 
leave  him  his  Cicero  "  On  the  Greatest  Good  and 
the  Greatest  Evil,"  which  he  had  enriched  with  val- 
uable marginal  notes,  as  a  legacy. 

One  day  when  Baruch  came  to  his  tutor's  house 
he  received  him  with  unusual  warmth,   and  told 


him  that  he  had  that  day  deciphered  one  of  the 
most  difhcuh  passages  in  Cicero's  "Orator."  The 
commentators  and  the  later  philologists  had  always 
given  the  easier  reading,  which  would  naturally  be 
more  convenient;  but  it  was  the  sacred  duty  of  all 
true  philologists  to  regard  the  more  difficult  read- 
ing— just  because  it  was  the  more  difficult,  and  not 
so  easily  understood  by  every  one — as  the  correct 
and  original. 

"That  is  strange,"  said  Baruch;  "it  seems  to  me 
as  though,  if  I  were  crossing  a  barley  field,  and  saw 
some  sheaves  lying  there,  I  must  say.  Ay,  those  are 
oat  sheaves  that  have  been  brought  from  another 
field,  for  to  allow  they  were  barley  sheaves  would 
not  evince  skill." 

Magister  Nigritius  started  ;  this  application  of 
Talmudistic  sophistry  to  a  foreign,  if  not  wholly 
unkindred  subject,  disgusted  him.  He  assured 
Baruch  that  the  transcriber  of  a  difficult  passage 
would  of  course  be  willing  to  find  an  easier  turn  for 
it;  it  was  therefore  his  duty,  if  there  were  sense  in 
the  more  difficult  reading,  to  prefer  it. 

Baruch  was  satisfied  by  this  representation:  the 
acuteness  of  reasoning  that  thereby  came  into  play 
attracted  him,  but  still  unsatisfied  he  felt  the  long- 
ing for  that  new  world  of  serene  beauty  which 
should  have  been  opened  to  him.  The  increasing 
chest  disease  of  the  Magister,  and  the  secret  dissat- 
isfaction between  him  and  Baruch,   made  the  in- 

122  SPINOZA. 

struction  henceforward  irregular  and  little  profit- 

At  this  time  Rabbi  Saul  began  the  tractate  Eru- 
bin  with  his  scholars,  and  to  facilitate  the  solution 
of  the  geometrical  problems  there  given,  he  under- 
took a  thorough  course  of  mathematics  according 
to  the  Hebrew  translation  of  Euclid.  The  restless 
intellect  of  Baruch  found  sufficient  employment 
therein,  and  he  also  devoted  himself  again  with  un- 
divided zeal  to  the  study  of  the  Talmud.  He  hoped 
thus  to  re-find  his  former  peace.  His  immediate 
pleasure  in  this  study  had  grown  less,  and  yet  he 
still  aspired  with  a  perfectly  ravenous  craving  to- 
wards the  fuller  satisfaction  of  his  longing  for 
knowledge.  He  did  not  tell  any  one  his  opinion, 
nor  confide  in  any  one.  For  it  is  inherent  in  the 
nature  of  a  young  growing  human  being,  as  it  is  in 
every  growth  of  nature  in  general,  that,  by  means 
of  its  power  of  attraction,  its  absorption  far  exceeds 
its  loss  by  rejection;  thus  its  vital  principle  grows 
and  ripens  into  its  destined  form.  In  quietude  as 
of  sleep  the  mind  of  the  youth  awoke  to  the  sur- 
prise of  his  own  consciousness,  and  the  insight  of 



HONEST  Mynheer  Dodimus  de  Vries  conscien- 
tiously entered  the  date  24th  October,  1648, 
in  conscientious  clerkly  style  in  his  ledger,  and  wrote 
underneath  how  much  wool,  saffron,  and  ginger 
had  arrived,  and  how  much  cheese,  sugar,  and  tea 
he  had  that  day  despatched.  Afternoon  tea  was 
delicious,  and  Mynheer  de  Vries  told  his  dear 
spouse  that  he  had  still  seven  hundredweight  and 
a  half  of  that  sort  in  his  warehouse  that  would  be 
worth  more  every  day,  for  the  celebrated  Dr.  Beve- 
rocius  had  written  a  treatise  wherein  he  plainly 
proved  that  tea  was  a  preservative  from  all  mala- 
dies, and  the  East  India  Company  had  had  this 
treatise  printed  and  circulated  at  their  own  expense. 
Hereupon  he  slept  softly  and  smiled  in  his  dreams 
like  a  child,  but  had  no  notion  of  the  sweet  sur- 
prise Mevrouw  de  Vries  was  preparing  for  him. 
Of  the  tulip  bulbs  of  the  rarest  sorts  and  varied 
sizes  and  species  which  she  cultivated  in  her  garden 
she  built  a  pyramid  on  the  writing  table  opposite 
the  sleeper,  so  that  when  the  happy  man  awoke 
his  eyes  were  met  by  the  ingenious  edifice.  He 
embraced  his  stout  better-half  heartily,  and  went 

124  SPINOZA. 

gayly  and  happily  to  his  counting-house.  It  was  a 
lucky  day,  a  day  like  all  others,  except  for  the  extra 
pleasure  of  the  tulip  pyramid.  What  in  the  world 
could  happen  more  than  usual  ? 

Three  gorgeously  dressed  heralds  rode  at  a  sharp 
trot  with  sound  of  trumpets  through  the  streets  of 
Amsterdam,  without  drawing  rein  until  they  reached 
the  Town  Hall.  The  hammers  stopped  in  the 
smithies,  the  weaver's  shuttle  hung  on  the  loom, 
the  tradesman  wiped  his  pen,  the  banker  straight- 
ened his  spectacles  on  his  nose,  locked  his  black 
box,  and  pulled  a  second  time  at  the  padlock  to 
make  sure  that  it  was  safely  locked.  Our  Mynheer 
de  Vries  laid  the  blotting-paper  thoughtfully  on 
the  freshly  written  page,  closed  his  ledger,  and 
locked  it  in  the  desk;  then  Mevrouw  brought  him 
his  wig  and  gold-headed  cane. 

"  My  love,  have  you  noticed  nothing  strange 
about  me  ?  I  am  expecting  all  day  long  that  some- 
thing extraordinary  is  going  to  happen  to  the  world." 
So  said  Mynheer  de  Vries,  and  he  took  his  son  Simon 
by  the  hand  and  went  to  the  Town  Hall  to  hear 
the  news  which  he  had  anticipated. 

But  it  was  not  so  quiet  in  the  houses  of  the  town 
councillors;  every  hand  and  every  foot  therein  was 
set  in  motion  to  bring  the  robes  and  clothe  the 
stately  person  of  the  master;  nothing  would  set  well 
in  the  hurry,  and  the  stern  old  councillor  scolded 
over  his    wife's  want  of   order,  and   tried  to  put 


things  into  a  form  worthy  of  his  dignity  on  the 
way.  It  required  all  his  importance  to  force  his 
way  to  the  entrance  of  the  Town  Hall  through  the 
crowd  which  had  assembled  there.  Artisans  with 
their  aprons  still  tied  on  and  their  bare,  sinewy 
arms  folded;  clerks  with  their  pens  behind  their 
ears,  and  ink  on  their  fingers;  porters  who  had  set 
down  their  loads  and  seated  themselves  thereon; 
soldiers,  idlers,  women  and  children,  all  stood  hud- 
dled together,  and  exchanged  conjectures  on  the 
arrivals.  One  loitering  dandy  praised  the  light 
trot  of  the  horses  and  the  fine  work  on  the  robes 
of  the  heralds;  they  fitted  as  if  grown  to  them,  and 
must  have  been  made  either  in  Madrid  or  Paris, 
civilization  was  as  yet  too  backward  in  this  coun- 
try; no  Amsterdam  tailor  knew  how  to  give  a  waist- 
coat such  an  undeniable  cut.  An  apple-woman 
admired  to  her  neighbor  the  rich  gold  embroidery, 
and  the  breadth  and  brilliancy  of  the  herald's  rib- 
bons, and  an  apprentice  remarked  to  his  compan- 
ion that  those  must  be  Utrecht  ribbons,  as  they  had 
some  in  the  warehouse  which  they  sold  at  four  and 
a  half  stivers  the  yard  to  gain  five  and  twenty  per 
cent.  On  the  right  hand  corner  of  the  Town  Hall 
a  tall  lean  figure  had  planted  himself,  his  legs  care- 
lessly crossed  as  he  whistled  a  tune. 

"A  good  thing  you  are  here,  Flyns,"  shouted 
several  porters.  "  You  can  tell  us  for  certain  what 
the  golden  birds  that  h^ve  flown  up  there  have  in 

126  SPINOZA, 

their  beaks;  you  have  shaved  the  chins  of  more 
than  ten  town  councillors  to-day;  you  ought  to 
know  what  is  going  on  in  the  United  Netherlands. 
Have  we  captured  a  silver  fleet  or  something  of 
that  sort  ?  The  devil !  You  have  a  face  like  a 
mynheer  on  the  pier  when  he  hears  his  ship  has 
foundered."  They  all  shouted  together,  and  the 
barber  tried  to  get  away  so  that  his  dignified  ap- 
pearance might  check  their  impertinence. 

"Holla!  stop!  that  won't  do,"  they  cried.  "In 
the  Thunderbolt  there  with  a  full  glass  of  gin  you 
may  know  everything  as  well  or  better  than  the 
Grand  Pensioner  himself,  and  you  can  tell  us  all 
about  it  there;  now,  brother,  show  us  how  much 
you  know,  and  if  any  one  says  you  lie  we  will  tan 
his  hide  for  him  till  he  can't  see  or  hear." 

Their  clenched  fists  showed  that  they  meant  to 
keep  their  promise,  but  Flyns  answered  none  the 
more,  and  tried  to  get  away  from  his  evidently  un- 
pleasant surroundings. 

"  Let  him  alone,"  said  one;  "the  chin  scraper  has 
always  shaved  us  over  a  spoon.*  Why  should  he  be 
there  if  he  knew  any  more  than  we  do.  He  must  wait 
as  well  as  we  till  they  throw  us  something  down." 

"  Ha,  ha  !"  they  all  laughed;  "good,  but  you  will 
have  to  wait  too,  you  see." 

"I  only  wait,"  said  Flyns,  "to  amuse  myself  by 

*  Taken  us  in. 


seeing  you  march  off  with  the  wind  in  your  ears. 
You  herring-hearts,  you  think  they  ought  to  grease 
your  dirty  mouths  with  the  news  boiling  hot.  Go 
to  !  Eat  your  dinners,  there  is  nothing  here  for 
such  lubbers  as  you.  Off"  with  you;  if  I  did  not 
know  my  own  place  I  should  despise  myself  for 
having  so  much  in  common  with  you.  That  comes 
of  being  too  good,  and  not  keeping  one's  proper 
position  continually  before  one's  eyes.  You  have 
seen  too  much  of  me." 

"  Nay,  nay,  we  did  not  mean  that;  you  must  not 
go  away  angry,"  they  all  cried.  "  If  the  little  rat- 
catcher says  a  word  against  you  we  will  stop  his 
mouth  so  that  it  will  bulge  like  a  woolsack  that  has 
lost  its  hoop.  Don't  be  cross,  and  tell  us  all  about 
it;  you  surely  know." 

Thus  invited  and  flattered  he  fell  back  into  his 
former  easy  position,  and  began: 

"Do  you  remember  what  I  said  when  we  went 
home  yesterday  evening,  and  saw  fiery  hosts  fight- 
ing in  the  eastern  heavens  ?  You  will  soon  see 
what  will  come  of  it.  I  did  not  forget  it.  When  I 
went  early  this  morning  to  rich  Van  Kampen,  who 
lives  near  the  Oude  Kerk,  to  shave  him,  he  made  a 
face  like  a  cat  in  thunder;  he  is  always  close,  noth- 
ing to  be  got  out  of  him;  but  I  laid  my  plans  and 
learned  from  him  without  his  knowing  it  that  the 
war  is  going  well  at  last.  As  for  the  Spaniard,  we 
have  done  with  him  long  ago;  he  can  say  no  more. 

128  SPINOZA. 

But,  my  brethren,  you  will  stare  your  eyes  out  with 
astonishment,  and  we  may  pave  a  whole  country 
with  men's  heads.  The  Turk,  as  I  said  a  short 
time  ago,  won't  rest,  and  would  like  to  give  Austria 
a  slap.  But  look  !  There  that  puffy- cheeked  mas- 
ter rope-maker,  Reuwerz,  is  on  a  cask,  and  babbles 
something  to  the  monkey-faced  creatures  that  stand 
round  him.  That  lot  are  unendurable.  Since  the 
rope-maker,  Michel  Ruyter,  has  become  a  hero  of 
the  sea  every  one  thinks  if  he  can  twist  a  cable  of 
tow  he  must  have  the  making  of  an  admiral  in  him. 
Every  apprentice  who  turns  a  windlass  thinks  we 
have  to  thank  him  for  the  hundred  ships  of  war 
and  the  hundred  merchantmen  we  could  send  to 
sea  any  day;  and  a  boy  who  has  not  a  hair  in  front 
of  his  ears  babbles  about  freedom  and  rights.  But 
there  is  no  God  in  Heaven  if  things  do  not  change 
again  soon.  Then  men  of  stc.nding  and  education 
were  something;  my  father  was  first  valet — " 

"Ay,  there  you  warm  to  the  old  story  again;  we 
have  heard  that  a  hundred  times,  and  have  always 
told  you  we  will  have  none  of  the  Orange  rule. 
Stadtholders  they  may  be,  we  have  nothing  to  say 
against  that,  but  under  their  rule  we  might  starve, 
and  now  we  have  enough  to  eat  if  we  don't  sit  with 
our  hands  in  our  laps." 

So  said  Maessen  Blutzaufer,  who  spoke  for  his 
comrades,  and  before  the  barber  could  look  round 
he  was  deserted  by  his  audience, 



"  Hurrah  for  the  United  Provinces  !"  shouted  one 
of  the  crowd,  and,  as  if  by  electricity,  all  the  assem- 
bly roared,  "  Hurrah  for  the  United  Provinces  !" 
till  the  window-panes  clattered  with  the  shout. 
When  silence  ensued  again,  they  all  pressed  round 
the  master  rope-maker  who  was  still  speaking. 

"Brethren!"  he  cried,  "obedience  is  the  first 
duty  of  true  citizens,  obedience  to  the  laws,  and 
respect  and  regard  for  governors,  whom  we  no 
longer  receive  from  foreign  tyrants,  but  whom  we 
elect  from  among  ourselves.  I  have  heard  many 
among  you  grumble  that  free  citizens  of  the  Repub- 
lic are  made  to  wait  down  here,  while  those  above 
sit  behind  locked  doors,  and  keep  for  themselves 
the  state  secrets  which  belong  to  us  all,  one  as  much 
as  another.  You  all  know,  brethren,  I  love  free- 
dom as  much  as  any  one.  Without  thinking  twice 
I  would  hang  my  best  halter  round  the  neck  of  my 
own  son  if  I  heard  that  he  was  a  traitor  to  free- 
dom, or  might  become  one.  I  hate  those  court  flat- 
terers, who  would  make  themselves  out  better  than 
we,  as  I  hate  Old  Nick.  So  you  may  trust  me 
that  I  mean  well  by  you  when  I  persuade  you  to 
be  quiet.  There  may  be  cases  in  which  the  fathers 
of  the  Republic  hold  it  better  not  to  trumpet  the 
news  to  every  wind.  Think  for  yourselves;  there 
might  be  traitors  among  us  !" 

"  Down  with  traitors !  Hurrah  for  freedom  !" 
burst  from  the  crowd  in  one  enthusiastic  shout. 

130  SPINOZA. 

"  Therefore,  brethren,"  continued  the  orator, 
"whatever  may  come,  war  or  peace,  on  water  or 
on  land,  we  have  the  handle  in  our  own  hands,  and 
we  will  not  let  it  be  wrenched  out.  We  have  won 
our  freedom,  we  can  protect  it." 

The  cry  of  "  Hurrah  for  Hooft !  Hurrah  for  the 
States  General  I"  here  interrupted  the  orator,  for 
on  the  balcony  of  the  Town  Hall  appeared  old 
Drost  Hooft,  and  with  him  the  town  councillors, 
as  many  as  the  balcony  would  hold.  Attentive 
silence  reigned  while  Drost  thanked  them  and 

"  Brother  citizens,  a  slight  accident  has  prevented 
me  from  sooner  imparting  the  news  which  must  fill 
the  heart  of  every  one  with  joy  and  thankfulness. 
Yesterday  the  thirty  years  of  the  horrors  of  war, 
and  the  seven  years'  peace  conference  at  last  came 
to  an  end.  Honorable  and  favorable  conditions  for 
the  United  Provinces  are  in  the  treaty,  to  which 
all  the  powers  of  Europe  have  sworn.  Above  all, 
Spain,  with  the  approval  of  all  Europe,  has  ac-* 
knowledged  the  perfect  independence  of  our  Re- 
public. It  is  merely  a  point  of  honor,  nothing 
more,  for  we  have  not  waited  for  them  to  present 
us  with  our  freedom;  we  have  won  it  with  the  help 
of  God  and  our  own  good  swords.  Our  rightful 
conquests  in  Brabant,  Flanders  and  Limburg,  the 
right  to  close  the  Scheid  at  will,  and  other  privileges 
remain  to  us.     Rejoice  and  thank  God,  for  it  is  he 




who  decrees  man  to  leave  the  sword  in  the  sheath, 
that  peace  may  be  between  Christian  and  Chris- 
tian. Pray  to  him  that  he  may  preserve  the  peace. 
Love  God,  and  guard  our  liberties  !" 

"  Hurrah  for  freedom !"  echoed  and  re-echoed 
the  cheers  of  the  dispersing  crowd  through  every 
street,  till  at  last  it  was  lost  in  the  clang  of  the 
bells  which  spread  the  news  of  the  peace  through 
the  air. 

It  was  a  glorious,  impressive  sight  to  see  the  life 
of  a  people  as  it  can  only  spring  from  the  conscious- 
ness of  a  happily  won  and  gladly  enjoyed  peace. 
Many  indeed  could  not  accustom  themselves  to  the 
thought  that  the  peace  really  existed,  as  one  who  is 
freed  from  a  heavy  burden  still  feels  its  pressure, 
even  when  he  has  long  been  relieved  from  it. 

The  pious  were  the  first  to  accustom  themselves 
to  the  new  state  of  affairs,  for  they  had  found  it 
plainly  revealed  in  the  prophecies  of  Daniel  and 
the  Revelations  of  St.  John  that  this  year,  whose 
number,  divided  and  added,  gave  the  sacred  num- 
bers twelve  and  seven,  must  be  a  year  of  peace 
and  blessedness;  and  they  went  home,  and  called 
their  children  and  their  household  together,  and 

"Watch  and  pray,  for  the  Millennium,  the  reign 
of  the  Lord  has  arrived;  the  promise  will  be  ful- 
filled, and  the  Lord  will  enter  into  his  glory." 

Those,    however,    who   had    not  so    much    faitli 

132  SPINOZA. 

trusted  in  the  seven  seals  and  the  signatures  of  the 
European  powers,  and  were  content  therewith. 

As  Mynheer  de  Vries  went  home  he  said  to  his 
son  Simon,  "  Have  you  given  your  full  attention  ? 
Such  a  day  as  this,  please  God,  you  will  never  see 
in  your  life  again."  But  any  one  a  little  way  off 
would  not  have  found  out  from  his  walk  and  bear- 
ing that  Mynheer  de  Vries  had  thus  explained  to 
his  son  that  greatest  of  benefits — a  citizen's  free- 
dom. He  spoke  with  such  quiet  thoughtfulness,  so 
devoid  of  all  outward  excitement,  evincing  that 
immovable  tenacity  of  the  Netherlanders,  who,  even 
where  their  passions  were  concerned,  still  held  to 
the  national  ideal,  the  "  makklyk,"  the  comfortable. 
At  home  Mynheer  Dodimus  embraced  his  beloved 
wife  in  an  ecstasy  of  joy. 

"  See,  my  dear,"  he  said,  pointing  to  the  tulip 
bulbs,  "  they  can  grow  on  peaceful  ground,  and  my 
tea  has  risen  a  third  in  price,  for  the  soldiers  who 
are  now  coming  home  have  not  drunk  tea  for  so 
long  that  they  will  enjoy  it  all  the  more." 

He  sat  down  to  table  quietly  and  in  silence,  and 
endeavored  to  control  the  extraordinary  excitement 
which  had  disturbed  him  during  the  day.  That 
evening  he  drank  half  a  glass  more  than  his  usual 
quantity;  he  did  not  speak  a  word  at  table,  and 
before  tea  came  in  he  slept  in  peace. 

It  is  a  good  thing  that  the  house  of  the  De  Vries 
is  far  from  the  Thunderbolt  ale-house.    The  shouts 



and  cheers  that  echoed  from  there  would  certainly 
have  awakened  the  good  man  from  his  slumbers. 
There  sat  the  whole  gang  of  porters,  and  made 
themselves  happy  with  gin.  The  popular  "  Het 
daghet  uyt  den  Osten"  was  sung  to  an  end,  and 
Maessen  Blutzaufer  had  struck  up  "  Wilhelmus  van 
Nassau,"  when  he  was  interrupted  by  a  tremendous 

"  Hold  !  here  comes  Judas  the  archknave,  the 
false  prophet;  stone  him,  crucify  him,  drown  him  !" 
they  all  shouted  together  as  Flyns  entered. 

"  Now  answer  for  it,  why  did  you  take  us  in  this 
morning  ?"  cried  one.  Flyns  stood  his  ground  and 
smiled  condescendingly.  His  father  had  not  been 
first  valet  to  Prince  Maurice  of  Nassau  for  nothing; 
he  had  inherited  so  much  of  diplomatic  talent  from 
him.     He  let  the  revellers  stop  blustering. 

"  Are  you  ready  ?"  he  asked  quietly.  "  You  don't 
understand  a  joke;  I  only  wanted  to  make  you  look 

"  But  that  is  lying  and  rascally  cheating,"  cried 
the  little  man. 

"Lie  down,  you  rat-catcher,"  retorted  Flyns;  "if 
you  bark  like  that  again  I  will  grind  your  crooked 
bones  to  meal,  and  sell  it  for  rat-poison." 

"  Be  quiet,  be  quiet,  no  disputes,  we  must  have 
peace  everywhere.  Give  him  your  hand,"  they  all 
cried,  and  Flyns  sat  down  with  his  friends. 

"  So  here  we  sit,"  said  Maessen  Blutzaufer,  "  and 



ten  horses  shall  not  drag  me  from  my  seat.  And 
if  the  Emperor  of  Japan  came,  dressed  like  the  one 
in  the  East  India  House,  and  said,  '  Take  me  that 
gold  chest  two  houses  farther  and  you  shall  earn  a 
thousand  stivers,*  I  should  say,  *  Emperor,  take  a 
glass;  to-day  I  cannot  serve  you;  sit  down  with  us 
here;  we  are  all  emperors  as  good  as  you;'  and  if 
the  Grand  Pensioner  himself  sent  for  you,  you 
should  not  move  from  this  spot,  Flyns.  No  beard 
shall  come  to  harm  to-day;  even  the  beards  shall 
have  peace." 

"  You  all  rejoice  over  the  peace,"  said  Flyns, 
"and  you  don't  know  what  name  the  child  has." 

*' Well,  what  is  it  called  ?" 

"The  everlasting  peace." 

"  Vivat !  Hurrah  for  the  everlasting  peace  !" 
they  all  cried,  and  emptied  their  glasses  to  the  dregs. 
Flyns  prophesied  the  return  of  the  jolly  times  of 
Jacob  van  Artevelde  in  Ghent,  and  told  them  that 
in*  those  old  times,  by  wise  management  and  ex- 
tensive trade  connection,  men  need  only  work  two 
days  a  week,  and  might  sit  in  the  ale-house  all  the 
rest.  It  was  a  tempting  bait,  and  each  one  had 
his  own  ideal  of  how  to  enjoy  it.  Maessen  Blut- 
zaufer  alone  would  hear  nothing  of  it,  and  asserted 
that  it  would  be  less  godless  to  have  no  Sunday  at 
all  than  five  a  week.  The  jolly  company  revelled 
far  into  the  night,  and  then  stumbled  singing  and 
cheering  home. 


Everywhere  joy  and  merrymaking  prevailed,  in 
church  and  tavern  as  well  as  in  the  family  circle, 
for  peace  was  spread  over  the  whole  of  Christendom. 
Peace  to  all  religions.  Peace  in  heaven,  and  peace 
on  earth. 

Only  on  the  town-wall  one  soul  mourned  over 
vanished  peace,  that  no  treaty  made  by  earthly 
potentates  could  restore,  for  the  covenant  of  Heaven, 
the  Law  of  Moses  lay  torn  before  him.  In  the 
library  of  the  School  of  the  Crown  of  the  Law 
Baruch  Spinoza  sat  alone.  Before  him  was  Ebn 
Esra's  Commentary  on  the  five  Books  of  Moses,  of 
the  difficulties  and  obscurities  of  which  study  his 
teacher  had  often  warned  him.  There  were  two 
passages  the  solution  of  which  had  long  occupied 
him.  On  the  history  of  the  waters  of  strife 
(Numbers  xxix.)  that  were  drawn  from  the  rock 
he  found  this  commentary:  "  I  will  here  point  out 
what  appears  to  me  to  be  the  right  explanation. 
Understand,  if  the  part  knows  the  whole  he  com- 
prehends it,  and  thereby  can  do  miracles."  The 
passage  (Numbers  xiii.)  "I  cannot  go  beyond  the 
commandment  of  the  Lord,"  he  explains  thus: 
"  The  creature  cannot  alter  the  work  of  the  Creator 
or  his  law;  the  mystery  is,  a  part  cannot  alter  the 
other  part,  but  only  the  law  of  the  whole  can  alter 
that  of  a  part.  I  can  penetrate  this  mystery  no 
further  for  it  is  deep;  at  any  rate  the  she-ass  spoke. 
When  you  have  found  out  the  secret  of  the  angels 



of  Abraham  and  of  Jacob  you  will  penetrate  the 
truth  of  this." 

The  passage  where  it  says,  "  When  you  under- 
stand the  secret  of  the  twelve,"  etc.  Baruch  under- 
stood more  easily.  A  kindred  spirit  here  attracted 
him;  he  recognized  the  caution  and  diligent  veiling, 
and  boldly  and  freely  gave  this  result,  that  inde- 
pendent reason  and  traditional  faith  can  only  be 
reconciled  by  mutual  compulsion.  It  was  made 
clear  to  him  that  not  the  whole  of  the  contents  of 
the  Holy  Scriptures  were  written  by  inspired  men; 
the  glory  had  vanished;  the  whole  was  the  work  of 
man.  How  could  profane  hands  in  later  ages  meddle 
in  the  writings  of  God  ?  Who  was  the  author  of 
the  Bible  ?  who  its  commentator  ?  Dare  any  one 
require  an  answer  to  this  question,  and  who  could 
give  it  ?     Who  ? 

Baruch  read  the  passage  commenting  on  Genesis 
xii.  6.  which  the  prudent  Spaniard  finishes  with 
these  words,  "And  whoever  has  penetrated  this 
mystery,  let  him  keep  silence,"  "Yes,  I  will  keep 
silence,"  said  Baruch  to  himself.  Buried  in  thought 
he  recollected  another  assertion  of  Ebn  Esra's,  that 
there  is  but  one  substance,  and  that  is  God,  and 
that  God  is  the  first  category  of  the  ten  categories 
of  Aristotle,  as  the  number  one  is  the  root  of  all 
numbers;  and  marvellous  was  the  explanation  to 
the  almost  incomprehensible  verse,  Job  xxiii.  13. 
"  But  he  is  in  one  mind,  and  who  can  turn  him  ?" 



The  word  /«,  Ebn  Esra  explains,  appears  super- 
fluous here,  but  is  not  so  indeed;  "  I  cannot  explain 
it,  for  herein  lies  a  great  secret." 

What  was  the  use  of  these  enigmatical  directions  ? 
What  was  the  use  of  explaining  and  searching  into 
one  word,  one  particle,  if  it  were  nothing  more 
than  the  often  defective  and  involved  expression 
of  a  mere  man  ?  Baruch  shut  the  book  quickly 
and  turned  over  the  leaves  of  another,  for  he  heard 
steps  approaching  the  library.  Chisdai  Astruk 
and  Ephraim  Cardoso  entered.  Chisdai  held  out 
his  perpetually  damp,  lobster-red  hand  of  friendship 
to  Baruch,  and  looked  at  the  book  to  see  what  he 
was  reading.  Chisdai  had  rather  a  tall  figure,  a 
little  bowed,  and  long  black  eyebrows,  whose  ends 
encroached  on  his  forehead;  he  always  screwed  them 
together  so  that  the  hair  stood  out  like  bristles;  his 
not  unhandsome  but  full  forehead  was  nearly  hid- 
den by  his  untidy  long  black  hair;  the  expression 
of  his  brown  eyes  was  not  recognizable  on  account 
of  his  large  round  spectacles.  The  wearing  of 
these  had  a  special  signification,  for  the  orthodox 
Jews  as  well  as  Christians  forbade  the  practice  as 
an  unseemly  innovation.  What  ground  the  Chris- 
tians took  on  the  question  we  cannot  tell;  the  Jews 
probably  had  no  other  but  the  fact  that  Joshua  and 
Caleb  wore  no  spectacles,  and  yet  had  seen  every- 
thing distinctly.  While  Chisdai  excused  himself 
to  the  orthodox  on   the  score  of  short-sight,   hq 

138  SPINOZA, 

nevertheless  liked  to  please  the  more  enlightened, 
whose  number  was  not  small  in  the  Amsterdam 
congregation,  by  this  adoption  of  a  novelty,  and 
appear  as  a  young  man  of  advanced  cultivation. 
In  the  heat  of  controversy  he  was  continually 
obliged  to  put  these  significant  instruments  in  their 
right  place,  for,  indeed,  his  nose  did  not  seem  to  be 
made  for  these  evidences  of  western  civilization; 
they  continually  slipped  over  the  bridge,  from 
whence  his  nose  bent  to  a  sharp  point  like  a  beak. 
His  wide  mouth  always  formed  a  half  smile,  for 
Chisdai  was  always  mindful  of  the  precept  of  the 
Talmudist,  that  no  pious  Jew  must  laugh  out- 
right as  long  as  the  Holy  City  of  Jerusalem 
is  laid  waste,  that  it  may  be  fulfilled  as  it  is  written, 
Ps.  cxxvi.  I,  2,  "When  the  Lord  turned  again  the 
captivity  of  Zion,  we  were  like  them  that  dream; 
then  was  our  mouth  filled  with  laughter."  A 
strange  contrast  to  the  rest  of  Chisdai's  face,  dis- 
torted by  an  eternal  grimace,  was  the  well-cut 
rounded  chin  on  which  the  long  hair  began  to 
darken,  for  he  was  four  years  older  than  Baruch. 
He  never  shaved  this  beard.  Besides  the  appointed 
fast- days  he  fasted  every  Monday  and  Thursday, 
and  every  Friday  he  dipped  nine  times  in  fresh 
well  water,  which  nevertheless  did  not  lessen  the 
unattractive  nature  of  his  appearance.  Wherever 
he  went  or  stayed  he  hummed  inaudibly  an  extract 
from   the    Mishna,  or  a   synagogue   melody,   and 


when  he  sat  he  moved  his  crossed  legs  in  palsied 
jerks.     When  Chisdai  was  seated  he  said  to  Baruch: 

"You  are  well  met  just  now,  you  shall  be  arbi- 
trator between  me  and  Ephraim;  but  promise  not 
to  give  half  answers  as  you  usually  do,  and  do  not 
be  so  close;  I  do  not  see  why  you  should  be.  Are 
we  not  brethren  ?" 

"  In  what  am  I  so  close  ?"  inquired  Baruch. 

"  I  will  not  explain  now,  we  will  leave  that  for 
another  time.  So  that  you  may  be  quite  impartial 
I  will  not  tell  you  which  is  which  of  our  views. 
But  to  speak  out.  Do  you  believe  in  the  existence 
of  angels  ?" 

"  That  is  another  strange  question,"  answered 

"  Now,  to  put  it  another  way,*'  continued  the 
other,  "  must  we  believe  in  the  existence  of  an- 
gels ?" 

"  That  is  the  same  question.  But  are  we  not 
Jews  ?  Must  we  not  believe  in  the  Bible,  and  in 
all  the  goodly  rows  of  books  behind  those  wire 
doors  ?" 

"  But  what  is  there  in  the  Bible  about  the  state 
of  angels  ?" 

"You  know  as  well  as  I  do,"  answered  Baruch. 

"But  what  does  the  Bible  say  about  the  state  of 
angels  ?     Are  they  material  or  immaterial  ?" 

"  You  have  a  whole  list  of  examples,"  answered 
Baruch,  "and  may  choose  at  will.     Abraham,  Ha- 


gar  and  Lot,  Isaac,  Abimelech  and  Jacob,  angels 
appeared  to  them  all.  They  first  set  a  fresh-killed 
calf  and  fresh  cakes  before  them;  with  Jacob  one 
wrestled  the  whole  night  long,  and  at  last  sprained 
his  right  thigh,  for  which  reason  to  this  day  we  are 
not  allowed  to  eat  the  hinder  part  of  a  slain  beast. 
Have  you  not  enough  of  angels  ?  If  you  wish  for 
yet  more  material  ones,  an  angel  appeared  to  Ba- 
laam, and  the  ass  saw  him  first;  an  angel  appeared 
to  Joshua  with  a  drawn  sword;  an  angel  appeared 
twice  to  Samson's  mother,  after  which  she  bore 
her  godless  giant  child.  To  Samuel  and  David 
angels  appeared  everywhere.  Do  you  want  a 
whole  court  of  angels?  In  the  very  first  chapter  of 
Hezekiah  there  is  a  great  array  of  them.  I  once 
heard  the  late  Acosta  say  that  court  angels  must 
have  been  much  more  fortunate  than  our  present 
courtiers,  for  they  had  in  fact  four  wings,  four 
hands,  and,  what  is  better  still,  four  faces;  a  man's, 
a  lion's,  an  ox's,  and  an  eagle's  face,  and  wherever 
they  went  they  followed  straight  the  face  that  best 
pleased  them.  If  you  want  immaterial  angels,  it  is 
written  (Ps.  civ.  4)  '  Who  maketh  his  angels  spirits.*  " 

"  Do  you  not  believe  in  bad  angels  ?"  asked 

"  Do  you  believe,  and  do  you  believe  !  You 
ought  to  ask  what  is  written,  and,  as  far  as  I  know 
our  Bible,  there  is  nothing  in  it  about  such  a  Satan 
or  devil  ^s  the  Christians  believe  in,     Th'<&  history 

THE    7'KEATY  OF  PEACE.  141 

of  Job,  according  to  the  Talmud,  is  merely  a  poem. 
To  God  everything  is  good;  it  is  only  to  us  men 
that  many  things  appear  bad,  as  it  stands  in  our 
glorious  Isaiah  (xlv.  6,  7),  '■  I  am  the  Lord  and  there 
is  none  else;  I  form  the  light  and  create  darkness; 
I  make  peace  and  create  evil  ! '  " 

"  But  can  there  not  be  bad  angels  ?" 

"  No;  the  distinctive  mark  of  an  angel  is  that  he 
is  a  mere  tool  of  God  without  free  will.  Satan  is 
said  to  be  a  fallen  angel  who  rebelled  against  God; 
but  that  could  never  happen  if  God  did  not  rebel 
against  himself." 

"  In  the  Midrasch  the  origin  of  bad  angels  is 
very  well  explained,"  said  Ephraim,  who  had  till 
then  listened  in  silence.  "Whenever  an  angel 
wished  to  become  visible  on  earth  he  must  imbibe 
a  material  essence,  and  none  could  be  permitted  to 
stay  longer  on  earth  than  seven  days.  Once  sev- 
eral exceeded  this  limit,  and  through  their  length- 
ened sojourn  they  had  imbibed  so  much  material 
essence  that,  thus  overweighted,  they  could  not 
rise  to  heaven.  Such  is  the  origin  of  the  devil  by 
which  Genesis  vi.  2  is  explained." 

"That  may  be  very  fine,"  said  Baruch,  "but  is 
it  true  ?  How  could  an  angel  overstep  the  laws  of 
his  being?" 

"  So  you  do  not  believe  in  the  existence  of  bad 
angels  ?"  put  in  Chisdai. 

"There  you  are  again  with  your  'Do  you  be- 



lieve  ! '  "  answered  Baruch  angrily,  "  I  know  as 
well  as  you  do  that  the  daily  Kadish  prayer  in  the 
synagogue  is  repeated  in  Chaldaic  because  the  bad 
angels  cannot  understand  the  idiom,  and  because 
no  contrary  petition  can  prevail  against  it  with 
God;  I  know  as  well  as  you  that  by  the  Shophar* 
trumpet  on  New  Year's  day  Satan  is  confounded, 
and  a  good  year  for  Israel  obtained.'* 

Ephraim  then  expounded  the  view  taken  by  the 
great  and  learned  Maimonides,  who  explained 
away  angelic  appearances  as  mere  prophetic  vi- 

"  That  borders  on  heresy  !  that  is  abominable  !" 
cried  Chisdai. 

"Agreed,"  responded  Baruch,  with  an  odd  smile. 
"  It  is  absurd,  useless  babble  if  Maimonides  twists 
his  own  inventions  out  of  the  Scriptures  and  ex^ 
plains  supernatural  revelations  away  as  dreams. 
That  is  half-heartedness.  He  had  not  the  courage 
to  say  *  Thus  the  Scripture  teaches  and  thus  rea- 
sons.' "  Baruch  here  stopped;  he  saw  how  far  he 
had  let  himself  be  led  on.  He  read  for  awhile  in  a 
book,  and  soon  after  left  the  room. 

"  There  he  goes,"  said  Chisdai  to  Ephraim,  "  he 
will  be  a  second  Acosta." 

*  A  kind  of  horn  upon  which  no  melody  is  played,  only  a 
tremolo  of  whole  tones  and  semitones;  probably  an  obsolete 
war  note. 



*'  You  have  tried  so  ingeniously  to  lead  him  on 
to  bad  speeches,"  responded  Ephraim;  "  let  him  go 
his  own  way." 

"  No,"  said  Chisdai,  and  continued  in  the  words 
of  the  Talmud,  "  In  religious  matters  each  Israelite 
has  to  answer  for  the  other.  On  me,  on  thee,  and 
on  us  all  lies  the  burden  of  sin  which  he  commits." 
He  then  left  the  room  muttering  to  himself. 




AT  dusk  Baruch  and  Miriam  sat  together,  while 
old  Chaje  told  them  a  marvellous  story. 

''Do  you  know  that  our  servant  for  the  Sabbath, 
old  Elsje,  came  to  a  terrible  end  this  night  ?  I  see 
green  and  yellow  before  my  eyes  whenever  I  think 
of  it,  and  of  what  might  have  happened  to  us  all, 
and  I  have  sat  with  her  for  hours  by  this  fireside. 
In  old  times,  though,  we  used  to  hear  of  far  more 
wonderful  things;  my  mother  often  used  to  tell  me 
how  the  synagogue  in  Warsaw  was  on  fire  once, 
and  the  fire  had  nearly  reached  the  windows,  but 
the  Rabbi,  who  was  a  great  Baal  Shem,*  threw  a 
parchment  on  which  he  had  written  some  secret 
words  into  the  flame,  and  it  went  out  like  a  puffed- 
out  candle.  Thank  God  !  there  are  some  pious  men 
left  who  can  control  the  Schedim."  f 

"  You  talk  such  things  that  no  one  can  tell  what 
you  mean,"  said  Miriam,  and  Chaje  replied: 

"  I  heard  the  whole  story  at  the  butcher's  from 
black  Gudul;  her  sister  is  servant  in  the  house  of 
the  pious  Rabbi  Isaak  Aboab.     What  a  sweet  child 

*  Exorcist.  f  Demon. 



Rabbi  Aboab's  Sara  was  !  I  was  always  afraid  she 
would  be  bewitched,  and  nearly  a  year  ago  her  face 
went  as  black  as  a  coal,  and  instead  of  speaking 
clearly  and  pleasantly,  she  shrieked  out  such  words 
as  one  never  heard  in  this  world  from  a  girl  of 
fifteen,  and  wrung  her  hands  as  if  she  had  the 
gout.  Every  one  said  she  was  bewitched  and  had 
a  spirit.  No  doctor  or  apothecary  could  do  any 
good.  Rabbi  Isaak  wept  and  prayed  the  whole 
night  long,  so  that  he  might  have  softened  a  stone 
in  the  wall.  Since  the  misfortune  befell  him  he 
has  fasted  from  one  Sabbath  to  another;  he  only 
takes  soup  and  a  couple  of  figs  every  night. 
Yesterday  he  went  to  the  Mikwe,*  and  dipped  nine 
times;  when  he  went  home  he  put  on  his  winding 
sheet,  had  his  chair  brought  from  the  synagogue, 
and  his  daughter  placed  in  it;  four  men  had  to  carry 
her  and  bind  her  in  it,  the  spirit  struggled  so. 
When  all  the  people  had  gone  out  he  fastened 
Psalm  cxxx.  to  all  the  doors  and  windows  in  the 
house,  and  forbade  them  to  admit  any  one  that 
night,  however  they  might  beg  and  pray;  no  one 
must  attempt  to  open  a  door  or  window  on  pain 
of  death.  God  forbid  !  Then  he  built  up  sacred 
books  round  the  chair  as  high  as  Sara,  and  took  a 
clean  un-notched  slaughtering-knife,  and  went  nine 
times  round   Sara  with  it;  then,  as  she  had  a  loud 

*  Bath  for  purification. 

146  SPINOZA. 

rattling  in  her  throat,  he  put  a  parchment  with 
some  holy  words  on  it  on  her  heart,  and  on  the  left 
side  of  the  chair  he  put  the  slaughtering-knife. 
When  all  this  was  done  he  opened  the  holy  chest 
in  the  corner,  and  took  the  Thora  in  his  left  hand 
while  he  opened  a  window  with  the  other.  Then 
he  laid  the  Thora  quickly  on  the  table  on  which 
six  black  wax-lights  burned,  and  as  he  unrolled  the 
Thora  he  bent  over  it,  threw  himself  on  his  knees, 
and  called  on  the  name  of  God  and  all  angels  so 
that  all  who  heard  him  felt  their  blood  run  cold. 
Then  he  took  the  Shophar,  and  blew  it  as  on  New 
Year's  Day,  till  they  thought  the  Messiah  was  com- 
ing. Twelve  o'clock  had  hardly  struck  when  there 
came  a  knocking  at  the  door,  as  if  a  hundred  men 
were  battering  it  with  clubs. 

"  '  Open,  open,  pray,  I  entreat  you,  open — have 
mercy  —  I  shall  die  —  open,  it  is  Elsje,  it  is  I, 
open  !  * 

"  So  the  voice  cried  outside,  and  the  spirit  in 
Sara  began  to  scream  again,  so  that  you  could  hear 
it  ten  houses  off.  No  one  attempted  to  open  it. 
Rabbi  Aboab  still  went  on  praying  and  screaming, 
and  calling  on  God  and  the  angels  till  he  had  no 
voice  left.  At  last  all  was  still  outside,  and  Sara 
too  was  quiet,  and  when  they  looked  at  her  a  black 
liquid  like  ink  was  pouring  out  of  her  right  ear  on 
to  the  knife.  It  was  quite  clean  before,  but  there 
was  a  drop  of  blood  as  well  on  it  now. 

THE   CA  BB  A  LI  ST.  1 47 

"  *  Thank  God  !  '  said  Rabbi  Aboab;  '  my  child  is 

**  They  took  Sara  to  bed,  and  this  morning  she 
got  up  as  fresh  and  well  and  prettier  than  ever; 
she  knew  nothing  about  it  all,  but  thought  she  had 
slept  a  long  time.  Elsje  came  home  last  night 
about  twelve  o'clock  with  her  mouth  foaming,  and 
as  she  took  hold  of  the  lock  of  her  room  door  she 
fell  down  dead.  You  may  believe  it  all,  for  black 
Gudul's  sister  looked  through  the  keyhole  of  Rabbi 
Aboab's  door.  God  is  great  to  have  left  such  men 
still  among  us;  but  just  imagine,  children,  who 
would  have  thought  that  Elsje  was  such  a  cursed 
witch  ?  Who  knows  how  many  children  she  may 
have  bewitched  ?  And  the  ingratitude  of  it !  She 
might  have  starved  if  she  had  not  earned  a  stiver 
or  two  from  the  Jews  as  Sabbath  servant.  Many 
a  good  bit  have  I  got  for  her.  I  am  afraid  to 
be  two  minutes  alone  in  the  kitchen;  I  always  ex- 
pect Elsje  to  come  down  the  chimney  in  the  form 
of  a  black  cat,  or  like  a  witch  with  fiery  eyes, 
snakes  on  her  head,  and  a  broomstick  in  her  bony 
hand.     Ugh  !     I  should  die  of  fright," 

Suddenly  there  was  a  tremendous  thud  on  the 
ceiling  of  the  room  so  that  the  house  shook;  cla- 
mor and  distant  wailing  were  heard ;  the  old  woman 
screamed  "  Shema  Israel  !"  Miriam  clutched  her 
brother's  hand.  All  stood  still  to  listen  to  the  dis- 
tant wailing. 

148  SPINOZA. 

"  Come  and  bring  a  light,"  said  Baruch  rising, 
"We  must  see  what  is  there."  Chaje,  with  trem- 
bling hands,  put  a  candle  in  the  lantern,  and,  upon 
her  urgent  entreaties,  Baruch  was  obliged  to  take 
his  Thephillin*  in  his  hand  that  no  evil  thing 
might  have  power  over  them.  Miriam  went  with 
him,  for  she  was  afraid  to  be  left  in  the  room  alone, 
and  even  Baruch  could  not  repress  a  slight  shudder 
as  he  mounted  the  stairs  to  the  granary.  When 
they  arrived  there  they  found  a  chest,  which  had 
long  hobbled  on  three  legs,  overthrown.  "  So  that 
was  it,"  said  Baruch  laughing;  a  black  cat  limped 
from  behind  the  chest,  and  disappeared  through 
the  window  in  the  roof. 

'*  Have  mercy  on  our  sins,  it  is  Elsje  !"  screamed 
old  Chaje,  and  let  the  lantern  fall  in  her  fright. 
The  three  remained  in  the  dark,  and  speedily  left 
the  place  that  appeared  so  haunted.  Chaje  and 
Miriam  held  on  to  Baruch's  coat-tails  as  they  stum- 
bled down  the  stairs. 

Baruch  regarded  this  little  event  in  his  home  life 
in  its  true  light,  but  the  enigmatical  incantations  of 
Rabbi  Aboab  strengthened  his  determination  to 
endeavor  by  all  means  to  penetrate  the  mysteries 
of  the  black  art.  The  Cabbala,  of  which  every  one 
spoke  in  wonder  and  with  bated  breath,  might  con- 
tain the   solution  of  his  doubts  and  questions;  the 

*  Amulet  inscribed  with  texts. 




initiated  might  form  a  community  of  the  wise. 
The  next  day,  Thursday,  he  went  to  Rabbi  Aboab. 
He  was  a  man  in  what  is  called  the  prime  of  life, 
of  stalwart  figure;  his  many  fasts  had  not  much 
injured  him,  for  he  looked  in  excellent  condition; 
his  round  face  and  ruddy  cheeks,  his  black  beard 
falling  to  his  breast,  might  have  been  called  hand- 
some, and  were  only  disfigured  by  a  large  wart 
over  his  left  eye,  which  wagged  merrily  when  he 
spoke,  and  above  all  when  he  laughed. 

Baruch  was  cordially  received,  but  when  he 
brought  forward  his  request  the  Rabbi  replied 

"  No,  that  cannot  be;  do  you  not  know  that  Rabbi 
Salomo  ben  Adereth  has  forbidden  under  penalty 
of  excommunication  that  any  one  should  be  intro- 
duced to  the  study  of  the  Cabbala  before  his  twenty- 
fifth  year  ?" 

Baruch  warmly  entreated  him. 

"  Do  you  know  too,"  the  Rabbi  continued,  "  that 
if  you  have — God  forbid  it ! — the  slightest  worldly 
motive  in  the  study  of  the  Cabbala;  if  merely  an 
incongruous  thought  mixes  therein,  your  own  life 
and  the  lives  of  all  belonging  to  you  are  in  some 
inexplicable  danger?  Can  you  trust  yourself?  Dare 
you  face  the  risk  ?    Will  you  ?" 

"  I  will,"  answered  Baruch  in  a  firm  voice. 

Without  another  word  the  Rabbi  took  Baruch's 
left  hand  in  his,  and  studied  the  fine  lines  marked 



on  the  palm;  then  he  pushed  his  hat  back  from  his 
brow,  and  studied  the  lines  of  his  face  for  awhile. 
Then  he  thoughtfully  paced  the  room;  firmly  and 
mildly  he  did  his  utmost  to  dissuade  Baruch  from 
his  purpose.  Baruch  was  almost  moved  to  tears, 
but,  with  a  trembling  voice,  he  still  reiterated  his 
firm  determination  without  irresolution.  *'We]l, 
so  be  it,"  said  the  Rabbi  at  last.  "  I  am  afraid  you 
will  only  endanger  yourself  and  perish,  but  I  will 
be  your  leader.  God  will  lead  me  in  the  way  of 
truth.  Come  to  me  to-night  after  evening  ser- 

The  synagogue  keeper  Elasar  Merimon  could 
not  repress  his  astonishment  when  he  saw  the 
youth  coming  with  the  Rabbi  to  the  Mikwe. 

"  Peace  be  with  you.  Rabbi  Baruch,"  he  said,  and 
grinned  curiously. 

The  Rabbi  commanded  him  to  say  nothing  to 
any  one  of  Baruch's  presence  there,  and  to  go  away 
himself  as  he  did  not  need  him  that  day.  He  took 
the  key  and  lantern,  and  opened  the  tower-like 
edifice.  The  dull  light  of  the  lantern  illuminated 
but  dimly  the  bare,  dusky  walls  and  wooden  benches 
around;  in  the  middle  was  a  well-like  hole  that  was 
the  bath.  The  Rabbi  mutterqd  a  prayer  and  un- 
dressed carefully,  observing  all  the  while  the  pre- 
cepts from  the  "  Book  of  Chastity"  written  above. 
He  had  not  quite  undressed  when  he  seized  the 
lantern,  and  with  rapid  strides  descended  the  thirty 





Stone  steps  of  the  bath.  "  Out  of  the  depths  I  cry 
unto  thee,  O  Lord  !  He  hears  me  afar  off,  O  my 
God  !"  he  cried  with  all  his  strength,  and  his  voice 
echoed  weirdly  from  the  depths  of  the  well.  Baruch 
shuddered  to  hear  in  the  quiet  night  a  soul  crying 
to  God,  as  it  were,  from  the  depths  of  the  earth,  for 
redemption  and  resurrection.  The  Rabbi  placed 
the  lantern  on  the  lowest  step  of  the  bath,  and 
threw  himself  with  a  splash  into  the  water.  At 
this  sign  Baruch  laid  himself  down  at  the  edge  of 
the  well,  and  nine  times,  whenever  the  Rabbi  raised 
his  head  from  the  water  and  again  dived,  he  cried 
"  Koscher"  (pure)  into  the  illuminated  vault. 

The  Rabbi  came  out  again  half  dressed  and  with 
his  head  covered;  his  long  beard,  still  dripping,  and 
his  lank  matted  hair  gave  his  usually  homely  face 
a  wild  appearance.  He  gave  Baruch  a  little  book 
in  which  a  prayer  was  written;  the  names  of  the 
angels  therein  must  not  be  pronounced  by  lip  or 
tongue  on  pain  of  death,  but  only  repeated  in 
thought.  Baruch  trembled  with  fear  as  he  de- 
scended the  dark  pit,  his  knees  gave  way,  but  he 
took  courage,  and  sprang  lightly  into  the  water. 
The  Rabbi  then  undertook  the  same  service  that 
Baruch  had  performed  for  him;  he  too  called  the 
word  of  purification  nine  times  across  the  well. 

Without  another  word  they  left  the  Mikwe. 

When  they  entered  the  street,  lighted  by  the  pale 
rays  of  the  moon,  Rabbi  Aboab  stood  suddenly  still, 



and  shook  his  head  as  he  gazed  at  the  long  shadow 
which  imitated  his  movements;  then,  looking  heav- 
enwards, he  repeated  the  text  usually  said  on  awak- 

"  I  thank  thee,  O  living  and  eternal  King  !  that 
through  thy  constant  and  great  favor  thou  hast  given 
me  my  soul  again."  Baruch  did  not  venture  to  ask 
the  reason  of  these  proceedings;  probably  Rabbi 
Aboab  had  not  yet  taught  him  the  saying  of  the 
Cabbala:  "Whoever  on  the  'night  of  the  sign'* 
sees  his  full  shadow  in  the  moonlight  will  not  die 
that  year." 

Rabbi  Isaak  Loria  saw  his  shadow  headless  that 
night,  and  he  died  the  day  before  the  year  ended. 

Rabbi  Aboab  was  gay  and  good-humored  that 
evening  when  Baruch  supped  with  him.  The  no- 
vice took  care  to  bestow  a  glance  on  the  fair  Sara, 
from  whom  the  evil  spirit  had  been  driven,  and 
who,  while  she  served  the  meal,  shyly  stared  at  the 
pale  youth  whose  fame  had  spread  through  the 
whole  congregation. 

Rabbi  Aboab  sat  long  at  table,  and  it  was  late 
at  night  when  he  led  Baruch  into  his  study,  and 
taking  the  Thora  from  the  sacred  chest,  unrolled 
it  at  the  place  where  stood  the  ten  commandments. 

Baruch  then  must  lay  his  right  hand  thereon,  and 
speak  thus: 

*  About  27th  September. 

THE   CAB  BALI  ST.  1 53 

"I  call  on  thee,  God  Almighty  and  Incompre- 
hensible, who  hast  confided  the  secrets  of  thy  exist- 
ence to  Adam,  Enoch,  Abraham,  and  Moses,  who 
have  handed  them  down  even  unto  our  day.  Let 
thy  Holy  Spirit  descend  on  me,  and  lead  me,  that 
I  do  not  stumble  in  the  way  in  which  I  would  walk, 
and  if  ever  I  did  violate  or  sin  against  Thy  secrets 
may  all  the  evils  of  fear  overtake  me  that  I  tremble 
at  my  own  shadow;  may  my  tongue  dry  up,  my 
entraiis  wither,  my  eyesight  die  out,  my  breath  be- 
come poison  that  destroyeth  my  best  beloved  when 
they  may  approach  me;  may  grass  grow  on  the 
threshold  of  my  father's  house  because  none  enter 
therein,  and  as  I  am  damned  here,  may  all  the  tor- 
ments of  Gehinom  overwhelm  me  to  all  eternity. 
Therefore,  O  Lord,  lead  me  that  I  rest  under  the 
shadow  of  thy  wings,  and  bask  in  the  light  of  thy 
glory.     Amen!  Amen!" 

A  shudder  thrilled  through  his  whole  being,  his 
lips  blanched  as  he  spoke  these  words,  and  even 
while  he  spoke  a  voice  seemed  to  cry  in  him,  "  Woe 
unto  thee!  thou  hast  violated  them  since  thou  darest 
to  enter  here.  Return!"  But  there  was  no  return 
possible,  the  worst  was  over,  and  from  that  day 
forth  the  Rabbi  became  more  confidential  to  his 

They  sat  down  to  the  table  and  the  lesson  began; 
the  mystic  reason  why  the  Holy  Scriptures  begin 
with  the  letter  Beth  was  disclosed;  each  letter  and 

154  SPINOZA. 

each  stop,  each  phrase  and  each  transposition  therein 
had  its  own  deep  signification.  As  proof  that  a 
secret  meaning  lay  hidden  in  the  words  of  the  Bible 
it  was  alleged  that  the  Holy  Scriptures  related  so 
many  unimportant  facts,  as  that  (Genesis  xix.  ii) 
"  Rachel  and  Jacob  kissed,"  the  detailed  enumera- 
tion (Numbers  viii.)  of  the  contributions  of  the 
twelve  princes  of  the  tribes  to  the  building  of  the 
tabernacle,  and  many  similar  passages.  All  this 
must  have  a  hidden  signification. 

They  were  deeply  engrossed  in  these  discussions 
when  the  echoing  chimes  of  the  Zuyderkerk  in- 
formed them  of  the  midnight  hour.  The  Rabbi 
rose,  took  off  his  shoes,  strewed  ashes  on  his  head, 
and  sat  down  on  the  ground  beside  the  door-post, 
where  a  parchment  on  which  was  the  Shema  lay  in 
a  niche;  he  covered  his  face,  and  amid  tears  repeated 
the  alphabetical  confession  of  sins,  then  in  a  mourn- 
ful voice  sang  Psalm  cxxxvii.:  "By  the  rivers  of 
Babylon  there  we  sat  down,  yea,  we  wept,  when  we 
remembered  Zion.  If  I  forget  thee,  O  Jerusalem, 
let  my  right  hand  forget  her  cunning — let  my 
tongue  cleave  to  the  roof  of  my  mouth,  if  I  prefer 
not  Jerusalem  above  my  chief  joy." 

He  repeated  the  Lamentations  of  Jeremiah  in 
the  same  position;  then  arose  with  the  words, 
"Shake  thyself  from  the  dust;  arise,  and  sit  down, 
O  Jerusalem:  loose  thyself  from  the  bands  of  thy 
neck,  O  captive  daughter  of  Zion"  (Isaiah  lii.  2). 

THE    CAB  HA  I.I  ST.  I  55 

**  I  have  set  watchmen  upon  thy  walls,  O  Jerusalem, 
which  shall  never  hold  their  peace  day  nor  nighty 
ye  that  make  mention  of  the  Lord,  keep  not  silence; 
and  give  him  no  rest,  till  he  establish  and  till  he 
make  Jerusalem  a  praise  in  the  earth"  (Is.  Ixii.  6). 

Baruch  did  everything  like  the  Rabbi,  but  was 
ignorant  of  the  hidden  meaning,  of  each  word,  ges- 
ture and  tone.  Teacher  and  pupil  again  seated 
themselves  at  the  table,  drew  on  their  shoes,  and 
studied  until  morning,  when  the  hour  for  the  syna- 
gogue service  arrived.  Thus  they  spent  the  watches 
of  each  Thursday  night. 

Baruch  went  through  the  Book  of  "  The  Secrets 
of  God,"  whose  supposed  author  was  Adam,  and 
the  Book  of  the  Creation,  whose  author  is  said  to  be 
the  Patriarch  Abraham.  Not  only  his  whole  mind, 
but  his  whole  body  was  excited  by  these  studies; 
he  incessantly  swayed  himself  about  and  exercised 
his  body,  for  the  Cabbala  teaches  there  is  nothing 
in  the  higher  world  that  has  not  its  counterpart  in 
the  microcosm;  thus  the  248  commandments  of  the 
Jewish  religion  correspond  with  the  similar  number 
of  members  of  the  human  body,  and  all  these  must 
be  active  in  and  devoted  to  the  sacred  study. 
Baruch  knew  the  names  and  powers  of  all  the 
angels,  and  knew  the  formulas  by  which  they  are 
constrained  to  the  service  of  man;  but  all  this,  like 
the  solution  of  chemical  and  magic  problems,  had 
but  little  interest  for  him.     The  mystery  of  mys- 

1 56  SPINOZA. 

teries  it  was  that  he  yearned  for  incessantly,  and 
here  the  Cabbala  taught  that  all  physical  and 
spiritual  life  was  but  an  imitation  of  the  original 
in  heaven,  and  a  chain  of  existence  and  action 
leading  up  to  God.  This  is  the  heavenly  ladder 
which  God  showed  to  the  Patriarch  Jacob  in  a 
dream,  on  which  the  powers  of  the  created  world 
as  angels,  after  their  spiritual  emancipation  or 
material  concentration,  mount  and  descend;  the 
graduated  ladder  of  all  existing  things  rests  on 
earth  and  reaches  to  heaven;  there  is  the  heavenly 
Jerusalem,  there  the  temple,  the  model  of  the 
earthly  one,  there  all  is  spiritual  that  on  earth  is 
bound  up  in  matter.  From  the  Hebrew  word  Ruach 
(soul)  it  is  shown  by  the  numbers  which  the  letters 
give  that,  the  same  being  found  in  the  various 
Hebrew  words  for  God,  the  soul  must  be  a  part  of 
God.  The  Hebrew  word  for  Messiah  contains  the 
same  number  as  the  Hebrew  word  for  Serpent^  in 
which  image  Satan  seduced  Eve;  the  Messiah  will 
therefore  bruise  the  head  of  the  Serpent,  and  banish 
sin  and  death  from  the  earth.  To  the  Adam  on 
earth  corresponds  a  threefold  Adam  in  heaven;  thus 
are  derived  the  three  different  expressions  in  the 
accounts  of  the  creation  of  the  first  parents  (Gene- 
sis i.  27);  the  original  of  the  earthly  Adam  is 
the  Adam  Kadmon  in  heaven,  the  image  of  God, 
and  his  first  born  Son.  There  are  four  worlds, 
which  are  spiritual  or  material  according  to  their 




more  or  less  remote  emanation  from  God.  The  end 
of  creation,  however,  is  the  law;  only  for  this  reve- 
lation was  the  world  created,  for,  according  to  the 
singular  division  of  the  words  we  read  in  Jen  xxxiii. 
25,  "  Thus  saith  the  Lord,  If  my  covenant  be  not 
with  day  and  night,  and  if  I  have  not  appointed  the 
ordinances  of  heaven  and  earth." 

What  is  the  triumph  of  victory  or  the  power  to 
rule  nation*  compared  to  this  immediate  spiritual 

Rabbi  Aboab  used  his  own  Hebrew  translation 
of  the  Spanish  Book  of  Erira  as  a  guide  to  the  oral 
law,  which,  according  to  the  words  and  sense  of  the 
Cabbala,  must  ever  remain  unwritten,  and  only  be 
passed  on  from  mind  to  mind. 

Here  at  last  Baruch  attained  a  higher  hold  by 
which  he  could  swing  himself  onward.  He  strove 
to  separate  the  inner  kernel  from  the  outward  shell 
of  grotesque  and  extraordinary  observances,  but  he 
found  with  pain  that  these  especially  were  repre- 
sented as  essentials:  that  general  ideas  do  not  suffice 
where  the  question  is  one  of  penetrating  the  actual, 
and  solving  the  enigmas  of  the  fate  of  men  and 
nations,  but  must  fall  back  on  the  strange  supposi- 
tions of  the  doctrine  of  metempsychosis,  and  the 
powers  of  evil  spirits,  in  which  nature  and  her  laws 
lose  themselves  in  confusion  and  anarchy. 

The  Rabbi  was  rejoiced  at  the  zeal  of  his  scholar, 
but  often  reminded  him  that  if  any  one  would  pen- 

1^8  SPINOZA. 

etrate  the  real  depths  of  the  Cabbalistic  practices, 
he  must  put  away  from  him  all  sensual  desires, 
which  were  the  work  of  Satan. 

"  On  the  sixth  day,"  he  added,  "woman,  and  with 
her  all  low  inclinations,  was  created;  therefore  the 
Rabbis  teach  that  men  ought  to  marry  at  the  age 
of  three  times  six;  you  have  reached  that  age  ex- 
actly." There  is  no  doubt  that  the  views  and  efforts 
of  the  Rabbi  were  raised  above  all  things  earthly, 
but  this  need  not  hinder  him  from  thinking  of  a 
union  between  Baruch  and  Sara.  The  young  Cab- 
balist  noticed  nothing,  even  when  the  Rabbi  once 
intentionally  left  him  alone  with  the  fair  Sara. 

The  Rabbi  once  taught  his  pupil  that  Jesus  of 
Nazareth  also  had  been  indoctrinated  in  the  Cabbala 
by  the  sect  of  Essenes.  The  Rabbi  never  antici- 
pated what  he  led  to  thereby. 

Baruch  had  often  already  been  irresistibly  fas- 
cinated by  a  black  bound  book  in  the  library  of  his 
master  Nigritius,  but  an  inward  fear  held  him  back. 
Now  the  question  again  arose,  why,  in  the  midst  of 
the  free  field  of  knowledge,  a  tree  of  gorgeous  and 
sweet-savored  fruit  should  stand  which  he  might 
not  dare  to  approach  ?  Who  has  the  right,  if  the 
fruit  is  not  indeed  deadly,  to  say,  Thou  darest  take 
of  it,  and  thou  not  ?  Unseen  by  any  strange  eyes 
Baruch  decided  to  open  the  book. 

He  read  the  New  Testament. 

His  hands  trembled  as  he  held  the  book.     It  was 

TttE  CAßBATJsT.  159 

the  force  of  habit  which  made  such  a  commence- 
ment seem  apostasy.  But  yet  he  did  not  give  it 
up.  A  quiet  power  possessed  him.  He  found  no 
new  explanation  of  the  Cabbala,  but  other  things 
most  unanticipated.  He  now  read  a  new  Bible,  and 
not  like  a  child  following  the  finger  of  its  teacher; 
but,  for  the  first  time,  with  free  eyes  and  unfettered, 
independent  judgment.  It  reacted  on  his  concep- 
tion of  what  had  hitherto  been  to  him  the  only 
sacred  writings.  Must  not  these  also  be  viewed 
from  the  standpoint  of  independent  criticism  ?  Is 
it  impossible  to  review  the  familiar,  accepted  with 
a  defined  signification,  in  its  simple  reality  ? 

He  passed  over  the  miracles  without  difficulty. 
The  parables  too,  with  their  resemblances  to  the 
Talmud,  impressed  him  but  little.  He  had  seen 
too  often  in  the  Rabbinical  department  how  will- 
ingly inward  incompleteness,  which  is  but  unripe- 
ness of  reflection,  and  outward  incompleteness, 
which  is  but  cowardice,  make  use  of  such  disguises. 
And  is  it  not  said  that  Christ  even  revealed  the 
truth  to  his  disciples  alone?  Is  it  impossible  to 
teach  men  the  naked  truth?  Is  "becoming  as  a 
child,"  the  return  to  the  simple  world  of  nature,  the 
only  means  of  salvation  in  an  age  confused  with 
dogmas  and  ruined  by  Pharisees  ?  Must  not  to 
"  become  as  a  man,"  a  development  and  growth  of 
mind  in  accordance  with  the  recognized  laws  of 
nature,  be  a  means  of  salvation  ?     Do   these  alone 


offer  a  firm  foothold,  because  the  ordinances  of 
nature  are  in  them  immediately  represented  ?  Must 
the  natural  order  too  not  be  founded  on  knowledge? 

Is  not  the  ''becoming  as  a  child"  in  will  often 
impossible,  while  manly  development  of  mind  is  a 
necessary  and  rational  task  ?  Must  not  the  Talmud 
phrase  have  its  weight,  "  Everything  is  a  gift  of 
God,  except  the  fear  of  God  ?"  Is  not  righteousness, 
which  is  attained  by  free  thought,  firmer  and  higher 
than  love  ?  What  is  the  pure  unrevealed  thought 
which  (Mark  iv.  34)  Christ  "  without  a  parable 
spake  he  unto  them,"  and  which  is  not  given  in  the 
Evangelists  ? 

It  cannot  be  said  how  much  of  the  spirit  of  op- 
position inculcated  by  his  early  education  lay  in 
these  questions  of-  the  young  thinker.  He  sought 
to  free  himself  from  it,  and  it  came  to  him  as  a  new 
revelation,  that  nowhere  is  it  said  that  God  has 
appeared  to  Christ,  and  has  spoken  to  him  with  a 
voice  and  by  signs,  and  so  on,  as  in  the  Old  Testa- 
ment, but  that  he  had  immediately  revealed  himself 
to  the  Apostles  in  Christ.  It  was  no  revelation  face 
to  face  as  to  Moses;  not  in  an  outward  material 
form  but  from  within. 

Baruch  knew  the  dogmas  but  ill  which  in  the 
churches  were  associated  with  the  events  of  the 
life  and  the  teachings  of  wisdom  here  given.  As 
the  highest  that  Christ  had  said  of  himself  it  is 
written  that,  "he  was  a  Temple  of  God,"  and  John 

^  THE   CABBALIST,  l6l 

said,  to  impress  this  more  strongly,  that,  "  the  Word 
was  made  flesh,"  for  in  Christ  God  had  revealed 
himself  most  immediately. 

Baruch  by  natural  affinity  «felt  extraordinarily 
attracted  to  the  life  and  teachings  of  the  Crucified 
One.  Just  because  he  came  from  a  circle  of  life 
which  would  know  naught  thereof,  and  whose  mem- 
bers were  persecuted  by  the  followers  of  Christ;  just 
because  he  was  hampered  by  no  Church  rules,  he 
strove  more  freely  towards  pure  justice,  and  learned 
to  apply  it  against  the  phenomena  spread  abroad 
during  so  many  centuries,  whose  outward  embodi- 
ment was  to  remain  unknown  to  him. 

How  many  apparently  antagonistic  and  mutually 
dissolving  elements  does  youthful  development  re- 
quire !  And  as  the  spring  breezes  blow  the  young 
tree  hither  and  thither,  it  strikes  its  roots  deeper 
into  the  nourishing  earth,  and  awakes  to  fresh  pow- 
ers of  growth.  And,  as  in  outward  nature  much 
enters  the  mind  that  does  not  immediately  reap- 
pear in  a  recognizable  form,  it  awaits  the  riper 
growth  and  development. 

From  the  library  of  the  Magister,  Baruch  must 
again  bury  himself  in  the  study  of  the  Cabbala,  and 
he  did  so  with  evident  zeal.  The  hidden  disguises 
fascinated  him  ever  anew,  for  he  might  find  therein 
a  solution  of  the  enigma  which  puzzled  him,  but 
the  incomprehensible  was  here  only  replaced  by 
new   incomprehensibility.      Often   a  guiding  sign 

102  SPINOZA,  ^ 

like  a  will-o'-the-wisp  emerged  from  the  darkness, 
but  sank  again  without  leaving  trace  or  connec- 

Baruch  longed  to*be  freed  from  the  yoke  which 
he  had  laid  on  himself  by  his  dutiful  visit  to  the 
Rabbi.     It  was  done  without  his  interference. 

A  Jewish  colony  was  setting  out  for  North  Brazil. 
Rabbi  Isaak  Aboab  joined  it. 

At  sea,  it  was  said,  dolphins  and  sea-monsters 
surrounded  the  ship  in  which  Rabbi  Aboab  was. 
All  were  in  fear  of  death.  Rabbi  Aboab  alone  was 
tranquil.  ^'  Look  !  in  these  are  the  souls  of  the  god- 
less. Be  still,"  he  cried  in  a  mighty  voice  over  the 
floods;  "have  patience,  yet  longer  ye  must  tarry, 
for  the  time  is  not  yet  come  that  will  release  you." 
He  threw  a  parchment  into  the  water  and  the 
monsters  vanished. 

The  fair  Sara  did  not  live  to  see  this  miracle  of 
her  father's,  which  rumor  spread  so  wide.  She 
had  shed  many  tears  on  taking  leave  of  Baruch; 
she  loved  him  secretly  and  passionately.  She  died 
on  the  passage  out.  When  the  exiles  landed  in 
North  Brazil  the  first  grave  was  dug  in  the  newly 
won  inheritance,  and  the  fair,  girlish  corpse  of  the 
Cabbalist's  daughter  was  buried  therein.  At  her 
interment  the  Shophar  was  blown  according  to 
secret  cabbalistic  ordinances,  a  sign  of  the  trumpet 
to  be  blown  at  the  Resurrection  of  the  dead.  In  a 
land  never  yet  trodden  by  Jewish  foot  the  trumpet 



notes  of  Canaan  already  sounded  which  echoed 
from  the  olden  times  and  from  end  to  end  of  the 
living  world. 

A  few  days  after  thö  departure  of  Rabbi  Aboab 
Baruch  went  at  the  usual  hour  to  the  house  of 
Magister  Nigritius.  Frau  Gertrui  Ufmsand,  the 
landlady,  met  him  with  the  news  that  the  Magister 
had  that  morning  been  found  dead  in  his  arm-chair, 
his  lamp  still  burning. 

Baruch  went  in  and  looked  once  more  at  the  set 
face  of  his  teacher;  the  gentleness  of  a  child  rested 
on  the  features  of  the  dead;  his  favorite  book,  Cicero 
de  Finibus Bonorum  ei Malorum,  lay  open  before  him. 

Thus  the  youth  was  separated  forever  from  the 
guides  that  should  have  led  him  to  the  treasures 
which  men  had  acquired  before  him.  How  many 
thousands  inherit  the  views  of  former  ages  without 
effort,  in  a  well-trodden  path,  happy  in  the  posses- 
sion, while  Baruch  must  ever  strive  anew  and  never 
rejoice  in  the  acquisition. 

In  his  youthful  self-reproachfulness  the  loss  of 
his  leader  seemed  to  him  a  just  punishment  for  his 
sins,  because  of  his  silent  opposition  to  the  much 
lauded  results.  But  could  he  do  otherwise  ?  Had 
fate  called  him  to  be  a  first  man,  untrammelled  by 
the  conclusions  of  his  forefathers,  unmisled  by  their 
guide-posts,  out  of  the  depths  of  his  own  life,  out 
of  his  own  conception  of  human  nature  and  its  laws 
to  create  salvation?    Must  each  one  to  whom  a 

164  SPINOZA. 

revelation  of  the  Eternal  is  to  be  given  withdraw 
from  the  confusion  of  human  society  to  the  lifeless 
desert,  to  solitudes  where  he  is  alone  on  earth, 
where  only  the  pulsations  of  his  heart  will  be  the 
measure  of  his  time  ? 



ANEW  reflection  that  now  occurred  to  Baruch 
did  not,  however,  alter  his  ordinary  way  of 
life.  We  bid  adieu  to  many  things,  and  the  separa- 
tion is  hard,  for  in  their  absence  the  knowledge  of. 
how  dear  and  true  they  were  receives  renewed  force. 

On  the  last  day  of  Atonement  Baruch  had  prayed 
with  a  contrite  spirit,  "  Lord  God  !  let  me  die  rather 
than  be  a  sinner,  or  one  of  the  godless  !"  He  yet 
lived,  but  had  lost  his  truest  friend,  who  had  stood 
by  him  in  need. 

Three  times  a  day  in  the  synagogue  and  else- 
where, when  he  drank  a  glass  of  water  or  ate  an 
apple  or  piece  of  bread,  when  he  began  or  ended 
his  studies,  on  every  occasion  of  enjoyment,  on 
every  event  of  life,  he  had  repeated  the  appointed 
prayers;  and  at  night,  as  he  lay  alone  in  bed,  he 
repeated  the  alphabetical  list  of  sins,  and  at  each 
word  struck  himself  remorsefully  on  the  breast; 
then  slept  peacefully  and  pleasantly  till  morning. 

Now,  however,  in  the  stillness  of  the  night,  doubt 
approached  him  with  soft  footfalls,  and  whispered 
in  his  ear,  *'Why  do  you  strike  your  breast  for 
things    that    trouble    you    not  ?      Have    you    ever 

1 66  SPINOZA. 

robbed,  stolen,  wilfully  sinned,  given  false  counsel 
to  any  one,  as  it  is  here  laid  down  in  this  cauldron 
of  Hell  ?"  He  replied,  ''  This  prayer  is  not  for 
me  alone;  I  pray  for  the  whole  of  Israel,  for  all 
mankind,  indeed,  that  their  sins  may  be  forgiven 

"  What  other  will  be  benefited  by  thy  word  who 
has  transgressed  by  deed  ?"  was  the  reply.  He 
broke  off  in  the  midst  of  the  prayer  and  slept 

"If  thou  prayest,  doubt  not,"  said  wise  Jesus 
Sirach;  but  how  can  a  man  command  his  doubts? 
And  when  Baruch  stood  in  the  synagogue,  and  the 
morning  prayer  lay  before  him,  the  tempter  came  to 
him  and  said,  "Art  thou  here  again  at  the  sound  of 
the  bell  ?  How  canst  thou  take  in  thy  mouth  the 
words  of  David  and  other  men  spoken  in  their 
great  need  ?  Should  thine  own  religious  feelings  be 
first  awakened  by  the  mighty  words  of  strangers  ?" 
He  resolved  henceforth  to  pray  only  in  forms  chosen 
by  himself,  and  at  the  times  in  which  he  felt  so  in- 
clined. This  did  not  happen  for  a  long  time,  and 
when  it  did  he  felt  that,  from  long  disuse,  he  had 
fallen  far  from  his  Creator;  he  did  not  find  him  as 
readily  as  formerly.  Of  what  use  are  words  ?  he 
then  said  to  himself;  thought  must  suffice.  If  God 
is  omniscient  ...  if  he  is.  Alas  !  he  no  longer 
knew  how  to  pray. 

He  felt  this  yet  more  distressingly  as  he  sat  be- 


side  the  sick  bed  of  his  moaning  father;  deep  sighs 
rose  from  his  laden  breast;  tears  burnt  in  his  eyes; 
he  could  no  longer  weep. 

"  Compose  yourself,  my  son,"  said  his  father; 
"trust  in  the  Almighty;  he  will  help  thee."  He 
knew  not  what  a  two-edged  dagger  these  words 
seemed  to  the  heart  of  his  son.  No  longer  capable 
of  thought,  he  sat  cold  and  mute.  The  surgeon 
politician,  Flyns,  in  the  next  chamber  whistled  the 
air  of  "  Wilhelm  von  Nassawe"  and  spread  plasters; 
the  father  held  his  son's  hand  and  groaned  perpetu- 
ally. The  Orange  partisan  outside  suddenly  was 
silent;  Miriam  opened  the  door,  and  Salomon  de 
Silva,  accompanied  by  a  stranger,  entered  the  room; 
the  surgeon  followed  them  with  plasters  and  a  case 
of  instruments. 

*'  I  cannot  undertake  it  alone,"  began  Silva,  "  so 
I  have  asked  my  respected  colleague.  Dr.  Van  den 
Ende,  to  perform  the  operation  with  me.  Are  you 
now  strong  enough,  and  are  you  ready  ?" 

"I  am,"  said  the  sick  man;  "my  life  is  in  God's 
hand."  A  slight  smile  hovered  round  the  corners 
of  the  newly  arrived  physician's  mouth.  Baruch 
had  been  watching  him  attentively,  and  thought  he 
read  in  this  smile  the  certain  intelligence  of  his 
father's  death.  He  was  mistaken.  Van  den  Ende 
asked  in  Latin  whether  they  might  converse  in  that 
language  in  presence  of  the  son.  Silva  answered 
in  the  affirmative,  as  Baruch  knew  but  little  Latin. 

1 68        .  SPINOZA, 

The  two  physicians  then  conversed  for  a  consider- 
able time.     Van  den  Ende  had  a  strange  mocking 
expression,  and  spoke  eagerly.    Long  Flyns  listened 
to  the  medical  consultation  with  wide  open  eyes, 
and  nodded  to  first  one  and  then  the  other,  as  if 
he  understood  it  all,  while  in  fact  he  did  not  under- 
stand a  word;  and  to  Baruch's  ears  it  was  only  a 
word  here  and  there  that  was  borne  as  if  by  the 
wind;  nevertheless  he  gazed  anxiously  at  the  stran- 
ger physician.     In  the  ways  and  appearance  of  this 
little  man  there  lay  such  a  rare  serenity  and  peace 
of  mind  that  Baruch,  in  the  mood  he  was  then  in, 
was  fascinated  by  him.     His  hands,  which  were  cov- 
ered nearly  to  the  fingers  with  his  crimped   cuffs, 
were  crossed  on  the  gold  head  of  his  Spanish  cane; 
he  leaned  comfortably  over  the  cushioned  back  of 
his  chair;  his  plump  round    figure  seemed  almost 
too  extensive  to  be  supported  by  feet  so  small  and 
neat,  ornamented  as  they  were  with   buckles  and 
ribbons;  but  attention  was    soon  attracted   again 
from  them  to  his  head;  from  out  the  curled  folds 
of  his  peruke,  which  flowed  to  his  shoulders,  his 
round  face  looked  good-naturedly  at   the   world, 
and  no  one  would  have  thought  he  had  seen  more 
than   fifty    winters,    but   for    some    wrinkles    that 
nestled  round  his  eyes  when  he  smiled,  and,  like  the 
dark  red  on   his   nose  and  its  neighborhood,  were 
evidences  of  a  more  advanced  age.     The  deep-set 
grey  eyes  moved  incessantly,  but  the  outward  qui- 


etude  of  the  little  man  was  a  contrast  to  the  violent 
gesticulations  of  Silva,  who  sometimes  seized  his 
colleague  unconsciously  by  the  cloak,  sometimes 
tapped  him  on  the  arm,  sometimes  on  the  shoulder, 
to  exact  proper  attention  to  his  words.  As  Baruch 
watched  the  stranger  he  could  have  envied  him 
the  rapid  stream  of  Latin  converse  that  flowed 
from  his  lips  if  he  had  dared  to  think  of  his  studies 
beside  his  father's  sick  bed. 

The  operation  was  successful  beyond  all  expecta- 
tion. Van  den  Ende  visited  the  convalescent  nearly 
every  day,  and  conversed  principally  with  Baruch; 
the  restlessness  and  active  mind  of  the  youth  did 
not  long  remain  hidden  from  his  penetrating  sight. 
The  grateful  father  willingly  granted  his  request 
that  he  might  instruct  Baruch  in  classical  learning. 

Baruch  accompanied  the  physician  to  his  dwell- 
ing at  the  end  of  Warmoes  Street,  not  far  from  St. 
Olave's  Church,  and  the  chapel  built  on  the  model 
of  the  Temple  of  Jerusalem.  Baruch  had  once 
passed  there  with  Chisdai.  Chisdai  spat  at  it  three 
times;  Baruch  merely  remarked  that  the  builder 
had  departed  very  much  from  the  original,  but  that 
it  could  not  be  otherwise,  for  even  those  learned  in 
the  Talmud  could  not  have  a  perfect  idea  of  the 
outward  and  inward  appearance  of  the  Temple  of 
Jerusalem,  since  the  real  original  was  in  Heaven 
itself.  Now,  however,  he  troubled  himself  but  little 
about  the  architecture  of  the  Temple  in  heaven,  or 



on  earth,  as  he  entered  the  house  of  the  physician. 
Here  he  found  himself  in  a  wholly  novel  atmos- 
phere. Joyous  singing  in  a  young  girl's  voice,  ac- 
companied by  an  organ,  reached  his  ears  even  on 
the  ground  floor.  The  physician  led  his  pupil  into 
a  large  room,  and  left  him  alone  for  a  while.  Bright 
colored  pictures  looked  down  on  him  from  all 
sides,  wantonly  attracting  remark:  here  a  Leda 
rising  from  her  bath,  an  oil  painting  in  fresh,  allur- 
ing tints;  there  a  Venus,  as  she  arose  in  all  her 
glorious  perfection  from  the  foam;  near  her  a 
Semele  on  whom  a  cloud  was  sinking;  on  the  op- 
posite wall  hung  Flemish  still-life,  fruit  and  flowers, 
landscapes  inimitable  in  truth  of  coloring.  Little 
statuettes  of  white  and  tinted  marble  stood  on  the 
inlaid  stands.  Canaries  in  gilt  cages  repeated  their 
well-studied  songs,  and  between  whiles  interposed 
their  powerful  native  wood-notes.  Roses,  tulips, 
carnations,  lilies,  and  anemones  bloomed  round  the 
windows  in  ornamental  pots,  and  drew  attention 
there.  The  physician  returned,  aud  explained  the 
beauties  of  the  pictures  to  Baruch;  some  he  took 
down,  and  dusted  them  with  a  sponge  for  a  better 
view.  Especially  long  he  lingered  over  a  picture 
of  natural  solitude  by  his  contemporary,  Jacob 
Ruysdael,  and  a  rich  landscape  by  his  rival  Nico- 
laus  Berghem,  then  still  alive.  He  then  led  Ba- 
ruch into  another  room,  that  created  even  greater 
astonishment.     The  walls  were  hung  with  anatom- 



ical  drawings,  one  above  another;  glass  cases,  in 
which  butterflies  and  beetles  were  well  arranged, 
hung  between;  stuffed  birds  sat  on  little  twigs  fixed 
into  the  book-cases.  At  one  end  of  the  room  stood 
phials  and  retorts;  in  one  corner  lay  a  large  heap 
of  grey  papers,  from  which  emerged  the  stems  and 
leaves  of  dried  plants;  there  also  stood  a  large 
skeleton  in  whose  bony  fingers  was  placed  a  gilt 
paper  sceptre.  Above  the  green-covered  writing- 
table  stood  a  marble  bust,  the  acute  Greek  face 
crowned  with  a  laurel  wreath. 

Baruch  took  note  of  his  surroundings,  in  which, 
in  spite  of  the  superabundance,  a  certain  order  was 
visible.  Life  could  be  filled  with  other  things  than 
biblical  rules,  commentaries,  and  religious  ceremo- 
nies; here  was  quite  another  world,  thus  he  assured 
himself,  and  the  physician  did  not  disturb  his 
thoughts,  for  he  was  seeking  through  his  shelves 
for  a  book.  At  last  he  chose  Cicero  de  Officits,  and 
required  Baruch  to  construe  it.  The  tutor  shook 
his  head  often  reflectively;  not  that  Baruch  knew 
no  Latin;  that  could  not  be  accurately  said  of  him; 
it  was  that  with  his  characteristic  quickness  of 
mind  he  burst  the  grammatical  forms  with  a  won- 
derful comprehension  of  the  author  whom  he  read. 
If  but  a  few  words  were  clear  that  gave  an  idea  of 
the  progress  of  the  narrative,  or  indicated  the  aim 
of  the  train  of  thought,  he  would  rapidly,  and  often 
correctly,  connect  the  sense  of  the  whole.     More  fre- 

i;2  SPINOZA. 

quently,  however,  in  following  the  train  of  the  au- 
thor's ideas,  he  would  spring  over  theift  to  his  own 
much  more  widely  extended  combinations.  Van 
den  Ende  saw  that  in  this  case  a  wholly  different 
mode  of  instruction  must  be  carried  out;  here  was 
a  well-grown  tree  that  had  seen  the  flowers  and 
fruit  of  many  seasons  fall,  and  which  must  now  be 
transplanted  to  another  soil. 

The  progress  that  succeeded  was  not,  however, 
as  great  as  might  have  been  expected,  the  lessons 
being  nearly  always  interrupted  by  discussions  on 
wholly  different  subjects.  Baruch  had  gained  con- 
fidence in  his  teacher,  and  told  him  once  in  a  confi- 
dential tone  how  he  had  lost  the  power  to  pray. 
The  physician  laughed  so  heartily  that  he  was 
obliged  to  hold  his  sides;  but  he  perceived  how 
seriously  this  annoyed  his  pupil. 

''  Excuse  me  !"  he  said.  "  I  am  not  laughing  at 
you;  ha!  ha  !  ha  !  We  had,  in  the  lunatic  asylum 
at  Milan,  an  excellent  example  of  a  theological- 
philosophical  Narcissus.  He  covered  his  face  with 
a  cloth,  and  remained  the  whole  day  on  his  knees, 
praying,  *  Holy  St.  Christopher  stand  by  me,  and 
forgive  me  my  sins.'  Ha  \  ha  !  ha  !  and  if  he  were 
asked,  '  Who  and  where  is  the  holy  St.  Christopher  ?  * 
he  stood  up,  and  lifted  the  cloth  from  his  face, 
crying  in  a  majestic  tone,  '  Do  you  not  see  the  glory 
round  my  brow  ?  Kneel  down  and  pray.  I  am 
the  holy  Christopher.'     Ha  !  ha  !  ha  !     If  one  only 



thinks  about  it  awhile,  there  lay  much  method  in 
his  madness.  What  is  the  use  of  prayer  ?  To  in- 
fluence God  ?  Half  a  fool  could  see  that  it  would 
be  a  contradiction  if  God  allowed  himself  to  be  dis- 
turbed by  us.  The  proverb  says  *"  ora  et  laboraf  it  all 
comes  to  this,  then,  that  it  raises  and  tranquillizes 
our  so-called  souls,  which  are  oppressed  and  per- 
plexed by  our  sorrows  and  pains;  if  I  could  do  it 
by  an  anecdote,  or  a  chapter  on  logic  and  physic,  it 
would  be  just  as  good;  so  don't  trouble  yourself 
because  you  have  become  independent;  don't  hang 
your  head,  but  be  merry  and  good-humored.  I  am 
so,  and  for  more  than  twenty  years  have  never 
thought  of  prayer.  If  one  could  only  bring  up  the 
young  without  wasting  the  fairest  time  of  life  in 
useless  fiddle-faddle  !"  So  said  the  physician,  and 
his  little  grey  eyes  twinkled.  Baruch  could-  not 
oppose  his  exposition,  but  from  that  time  he  was 
more  reserved  with  him;  he  diligently  studied  the 
works  on  mathematics  and  natural  science  that  he 
received  from  him,  questioned  him  on  any  diffi- 
culty therein,  but  carefully  avoided  any  reference 
to  his  own  condition  of  mind.  The  physician,  how- 
ever, knew  how  to  awaken  confidence  by  his  insin- 
uating frankness. 

"  I  was  once  as  hampered  by  doubts  as  you,"  he 
once  said  t©  Baruch.  "  And  I  know  what  the  effect 
of  such  bondage  is;  even  now  when  I  think  I  have 
freed  myself  I  catch  myself  in  that  exclusiveness 



that  proceeds  from  the  fancied  possession  of  the 
one  true  creed.  I  am  not  come  like  you  from  the 
Bible  itself  to  the  way  of  freedom.  It  was  a 
peculiar  and  in  itself  weaker  impulse  that  led  me 
into  it.  I  was  sent  as  a  pious  Catholic  to  the 
University  of  Leyden.  One  Ascension  Eve  I  had 
studied  so  long  that  my  lamp  burned  out;  as  I  lay 
quietly  in  bed  the  thought  passed  like  lightning 
through  my  mind,  'Where  is  that  illuminating 
power  now  ?  The  fire  has  annihilated  its  fuel  and 
flowed  into  the  Universe.  What  if  it  should  be  so 
with  our  souls  also  ? '  My  teacher  had  impressed 
on  me  the  once  wide-spread  theory  that  life  was  a 
process  of  burning.  It  can  be  called  so  without  ex- 
plaining much  thereby;  what  we  call  soul,  thought, 
and  sensation  is  nothing  but  a  combination  of 
matter  that  has  its  nourishment  from  matter,  pal- 
pable or  impalpable,  and  will  again  become  such. 
One  man  digests  with  difficulty,  another  with  ease, 
one  with  comfort,  another  with  discomfort." 

"  In  what  then  lies  our  superiority  to  the 
brutes  ?" 

"  Who  told  you  that  such  must  exist  ?  But  we 
are  indeed  superior,  only  in  so  far,  however,  that 
we  are  more  richly  gifted  and  composed  of  finer 
material,  therefore  the  so-called  immaterial  essences 
of  color,  sound,  and  language  act  more  ^^owerfully 
on  us.  The  brain  of  a  man  outweighs  a  fiftieth  of 
his  whole  body,  therefore  he  has  more  of  what  is 


called  reason  and  intellect.  In  an  ox,  for  example, 
the  brain  amounts  to  hardly  an  eight-hundredth 
part  of  its  weight,  therefore  it  is  stupid;  the  ele- 
phant is  ponderous  but  sagacious,  because  he  has  a 
proportionately  large  brain.  Injure  your  brain  and 
you  become  an  idiot;  why  then  do  you  talk  of  your 
future  life  and  your  eternal  existence?" 

"  Our  destiny  then  should  be  to  make  our  life- 
work,  or  our  existence,  as  you  call  it,  as  agreeable 
as  possible." 


"I  did  not  think  you  were  so  selfish,"  replied 

"  I  am  not  selfish,"  retorted  the  ph5^sician,  "  I 
would  joyfully  give  fortune  and  life  for  the  good  of 
the  community,  for  the  State,  but  not  for  religion 
and  faith;  I  would  not  pull  a  hair  from  my  wig  for 
them.  The  surest  and  highest  good  of  mankind 
lies  in  the  well-being  of  the  State,  and  to  care  for 
that  is  the  destined  work  of  man;  in  all  else  we  but 
mount  from  one  cloud  to  another." 

"Your  endeavors  for  the  good  of  your  fatherland 
and  mankind  were  in  the  end  then  nothing  more 
than  to  make  it  possible  for  this  or  that  individual, 
or,  if  you  prefer  it,  the  community  at  large,  to  eat, 
drink,  and  take  their  pleasure  with  more  ease  and 
comfort;  in  your  extension  of  this  you  obtain 
nothing  higher,  only  something  wider." 

*'  I  will  talk  with  you  openly,"  added   the  phy- 

176  SPINOZA. 

sician,  coming  nearer  to  his  scholar  with  a  rare 
earnestness  in  his  manner  "  Each  one  must  go 
through  the  crisis  in  which  you  are  now.  I  too 
was  enthusiastic  at  your  age  about  the  higher  or 
spiritual  needs  of  mankind,  and  thought  they  ought 
never  to  be  dissevered  from  their  strivings  towards 
the  good  of  the  community.  I  was  in  that  sense  a 
zealous  Catholic,  but  only  in  that  sense.  It  was  the 
time  when 

"  Gomar  and  Arminius  with  .rage  and  grief 
Strove  which  ought  to  be  the  best  belief." 

I  saw  the  Advocate  mount  the  scaffold,  because  he 
defended  himself  from  the  old  Jewish  creed  by 
which,  through  election,  they  would  make  Chris- 
tians into  a  body-guard  of  God;  there,  leaning  on 
his  staff,  the  septuagenarian  Oldenbarnaveldt  stood 
on  the  scaffold. 

"  '  O  God  ! '  he  cried;  '  what  will  become  of  man- 
kind ? '  And  all  around  stood  the  brainless  crowd, 
heads  beyond  heads,  and  gloated  over  it,  and 
shouted  as  that  noblest  head  of  all  was  severed 
from  the  body.  There  and  then  I  learned  to  despise 
the  multitude;  there  I  gained  the  knowledge  that 
before  all  things  it  is  necessary  to  reject  all  in- 
fluence from  what  the  crowd  calls  religion.  Super- 
stition is  a  hollow  tooth;  it  leaves  you  long  in 
peace,  but  a  harder  morsel,  or  a  colder  whiff  of  air, 
and  you  are  maddened  by  it.     Try  to  draw  it  out, 



the  patient  strikes  you  in  the  face,  you  leave  a 
splinter  in  and  cannot  extract  it  except  with  the 
danger  of  tearing  the  gum,  or  destroying  a  nerve. 
Whoever  would  really  help  says  he  would  but 
look  at  it,  then  fixes  the  pincers  in  the  jaws,  then 
back!  out  with  it;  but  it  is  better  not  to  help 
him  who  has  not  the  courage  to  let  himself  be 

"  You  make  the  endeavor  after  possession  and 
increase  of  the  ideal  attainments  of  mankind  an  in- 
tellectual luxury." 

"Yes,  it  has  no  practical  .aim;  I  don't  grudge  it 
to  you  Jews,  if  you  like  to  erect  a  heavenly  king- 
dom, since  you  have  no  earthly  one.  Why  do  you 
laugh  ?     Am  I  not  right  ?" 

"  The  Talmud  says  that  the  best  of  the  physicians 
go  to  hell;  the  professors  of  healing  then  had  evi- 
dently the  same  ideas  as  you  have  now." 

"What  does  your  Talmud  matter  to  me?  Your 
Moses  was  a  great  statesman,  but  wise  Solomon  is 
the  man  for  me;  he  understood  life,  that  is  why  he 
says  in  Ecclesiastes,  'Then  I  commended  mirth, 
because  a  man  hath  no  better  thing  under  the  sun 
than  to  eat,  and  to  drink,  and  to  be  merry.' " 

"Then  the  brutes  best  fulfil  their  destiny,  and 
the  mollusks  who  consist  of  a  stomach  are  the  most 
perfect  of  creations." 

"  No;  I  grant  you  a  brute  can  be  merry, but  man 
is  superior  in  this,  not  that  he  walks  upright,  can 

1 78  SPINOZA. 

read  and  write,  and  thereby  know  what  happened 
before  him  and  therefore  may  happen  to  him;  no, 
but  men  alone  can  laugh.  Democritus  and  Lucian 
were  the  two  most  sagacious  men  in  Greece,  the 
others  have  mostly  thrashed  empty  straw.  I  am 
an  old  practitioner,  believe  me,  no  pleasure  in  the 
world  is  so  permanent  as  laughter,  and  in  the  en- 
joyment of  it  men  remain  normally  fresh  and 

"  It  is  odd  that  you  are  again  in  agreement  with 
the  Talmud,  for  it  says  there,  '  that  laughter  is  the 
prerogative  of  mankind.'  " 

"Truly?  Then  there  is  some  wisdom  in  that 
heavy  book,  but  I  go  still  further,  and  say,  it  is  a 
prerogative  of  men  above  gods,  for  he  whom 
nothing  surprises  cannot  laugh." 

"  Let  us  remain  among  men,"  interrupted  Ba- 
ruch.  "  What  in  your  view  of  things  becomes  of 
the  poor  who  moisten  their  crusts  with  tears,  the 
old,  the  sick,  and  the  sorrowful,  who  find  nothing 
to  enjoy,  and  nothing  to  laugh  at  ?  Where  are 
comfort  and  joy  for  them  ?" 

"Such  should  believe  and  be  merry  in  their  godly 

"  But  if  they  come  to  a  fuller  knowledge,  and  all 
is  overturned  ?" 

"There  is  no  fear  of  that,  it  will  never  happen; 
in  all  times  there  are  but  few  clear-sighted  ones; 
the  rabble  will  always  believe:  it  must  be  so,  be- 



cause  they  are  wanting  in  cultivation  and  judg- 
ment; otherwise  they  would  never  be  kept  within 

"These  are  they  who  count  themselves  free; 
even  infidelity  has  its  elect !"  Such  were  Baruch's 
thoughts  as  he  went  away. 

On  yet  another  occasion  the  books  lay  open  be- 
fore them,  and  teacher  and  learner  spoke  of  other 
things  than  what  was  written  therein. 

"Believe  me,"  said  the  physician,  and  he  blinked 
with  his  grey  eyes,  like  one  who  has  penetrated  the 
deepest  secrets;  "believe  me,  I  often  looked  behind 
the  curtains;  I  know  the  matrimonial  history  of 
what  men  call  matter  and  spirit,  and  have  coupled 
with  a  religious  blessing." 

"Yet  every  one  desires  to  be  believed,"  answered 
the  pupil.  "  But  if  I  had  wished  it  I  should  have 
remained  among  the  Rabbis;  perhaps  I  might  have 
succeeded  in  building  yet  another  story  to  that 
Tower  of  Babel,  the  Talmud,  which  at  last  may 
reach  to  Heaven;  but  I  wish  for  knowledge,  cer- 

"  That  you  will  only  find  in  matter;  of  all  other 
things  I  can  prove  to  you  as  readily  that  they  exist 
as  that  they  do  not  exist." 

"  In  the  combination  of  my  own  unbroken  suc- 
cession of  impressions,  feelings,  and  thoughts  I 
know  myself  to  be  a  spiritual  unit,  independent  of, 
and  unconnected   with,   the   body.     Suicide,  how- 

l8o  SPINOZA. 

ever  much  it  is  to  be  deprecated,  does  it  not  prove 
an  authority  of  the  human  mind  over  the  body, 
which  extends  even  to  the  annihilation  thereof  ?" 

"  The  arrogance  of  humanity !"  answered  the 
physician;  "that  is  the  original  sin  that  adheres  to 
us  all.  What  you  speak  of  may  just  as  well  be  the 
result  of  physical  causes,  what  men  call  instinct  in 
animals  without  reason.  For  example,  a  marten 
or  a  rat  which  is  caught  by  one  foot  in  a  trap  will 
bite  off  that  foot  with  its  own  teeth  and  run  away. 
A  yet  more  striking  example:  in  my  travels  in 
lower  Italy  I  often  saw  the  peasants  enjoy  a  cruel 
pleasure  in  throwing  a"  scorpion  into  the  centre  of  a 
pretty  large  circle  of  glowing  cinders.  The  poor 
animal  tried  to  fly,  and  shot  from  one  side  to  the 
other,  but  was  everywhere  stopped  by  the  glowing 
ring;  it  raised  its  head  as  if  entreating  the  mercy 
of  the  bystanders,  but  all  laughed  and  cheered,  and 
no  one  offered  it  means  of  exit;  then  it  shot  into 
the  circle  in  a  rage,  hunted  by  anxiety  and  despair, 
and  tried  to  force  the  glowing  cinders  with  its 
claws,  but  quickly  retreated  and  writhed  through 
its  whole  body.  When  it  no  longer  saw  means  of 
escape,  it  crouched  in  the  middle  of  the  circle  far 
away  from  the  flames.  Without  motion  it  lay  as  if 
dead,  but  suddenly  putting  out  the  sting  of  its  tail, 
it  reared  itself  with  all  its  might,  stabbed  itself 
through,  and  was  dead.  Tell  me,  did  the  scorpion 
feel  its  independent  spiritual  individuality?" 


Baruch  would  have  conceded  this,  and  allowed 
spiritual  powers  to  the  whole  of  nature's  created 
beings;  but  he  felt  that  he  could  not  lay  his  own 
reflections  in  the  scale  against  so  rich  a  treasure 
of  experience,  where  continual  novelties  were  dis- 
played before  his  eyes  which  he  could  not  judge  of 
in  a  moment.  An  inner  voice  opposed  the  views 
thus  offered  to  him,  but  he  did  not  know  on  what 
to  ground  his  opposition.  He  was  silent.  His 
teacher  did  not  doubt  that  he  had  won  a  proselyte, 
and  invited  Baruch  to  come  the  following  evening, 
when  he  would  reveal  the  secrets  of  a  doctrine  that 
would  extort  his  astonishment  and  wonder. 

Baruch  appeared  at  the  appointed  hour.  Van 
den  Ende  led  him  into  his  study  and  bolted  the 
door  behind  them,  closed  the  window-shutters,  and 
listened  to  hear  that  no  one  was  near  the  room. 
Baruch  almost  laughed  at  the  comically  serious 
manner  of  the  physician  as  he  placed  a  lighted 
candle  in  the  fingers  of  the  skeleton. 

"  Do  you  know  the  legend  of  the  prior  of  St. 
Dominic  at  Tiel?"  inquired  the  physician,  as  he 
sought  for  something  in  a  chest. 

"  No  !"  answered  Baruch. 

"  Listen,"  continued  his  companion.  "  The  pious 
prior  was  once  visited  by  the  devil  while  he  was 
engaged  in  reading  a  holy  book.  The  devil  wanted 
to  distract  the  pious  man's  attention  from  his  oc- 
cupation; he  jumped  on  the  table  and  played  all 

1 82  SPINOZA. 

manner  of  antics  before  him;  but  the  prior  obliged 
him  to  hold  the  candle  for  him  until  it  was  burned 
down,  when  he  graciously  let  him  go.  Look  at  the 
Domine  there,  he  shall  light  us  while  we  read  the 
devil's  testament.  Ah  !  there  is  the  key.  Look  at 
that  bony  frame  a  little  again;  the  whole  scaffold- 
ing was  once  filled  up  with  fat;  that  was  a  belly 
that  licked  up  many  a  scrap  from  the  table  of 
Prince  Maurice  of  Orange,  those  cheek  and  fore- 
head bones  had  a  carbuncle  red  covering;  in  those 
holes  sat  obsequious  eyes,  which  often  practised 
the  human  prerogative  of  looking  heavenward;  be- 
fore those  teeth  was  a  pair  of  lips  that  railed  much 
at  the  Remonstrance,  and  exercised  abstinence  in 
the  sipping  of  costly  Rhine  wine.  That  was  once 
the  fat  Domine  who  abused  the  noble  Oldenbarna- 
veldt  most,  and  led  him  on  to  the  scaffold.  He  was 
predestined  to  be  stolen  by  me  for  a  body  to  cut 
up.  I  was  in  danger  of  death  for  the  deed.  It  is 
a  pretty  history;  I  will  tell  it  you  another  time. 
Holy  Laurentius !  here  is  another  disciple  who 
makes  a  pilgrimage  to  you  to  get  wisdom  from 
your  white  head.  Rejoice,  for  the  crowd  shall  soon 
be  as  the  sands  of  the  sea,  or  the  stars  in  the  firma- 
ment." At  these  words  the  physician  crossed  his 
arms  on  his  breast,  and  bowed  three  times  to  the 

"  Ha,  ha,  ha  !"  he  interrupted  himself,  ''  it  is  too 
good.     I   am  getting  quite  biblical,  but  I  will  not 



make  any  more  nonsense  for  you."  He  then 
mounted  on  a  stool,  opened  the  upper  part  of  the 
skull  with  a  key,  took  a  manuscript  out,  and  said 
as  he  descended: 

"  As  long  as  he  was  living  he  harbored  nothing 
so  clever  there  as  I  have  given  him  in  charge. 
Swear  that  you  will  not  tell  any  one  that  you  have 
seen  this  book  in  my  care;  my  citizenship  would 
be  endangered." 

"  How  shall  I  swear  it  ?"  asked  Baruch,  while 
he  resolved  to  learn  nothing  rather  than  take  such 
another  oath  as  the  Cabbalist  had  imposed. 

The  physician  misunderstood  him. 

"You  are  right,"  he  said;  "if  you  would  swear 
you  could  not  understand  this.  Look  at  this 
round,  well-formed,  legible  writing;  so  fairly  men 
write  in  the  devil's  offices.  The  book  is  inherited 
from  a  Dominican  friar,  who  brought  it  irom  Augs- 
burg; a  German  emperor,  Frederick  the  Second 
of  Hohenstaufen,  was  the  author.  The  title  you 
will  easily  understand,  it  is  called  De  Tribus  Im" 
postoribus ;  there  are  only  nine  and  twenty  para- 
graphs of  it.  Sit  there  and  I  will  read  it  to  you  in 

Baruch  shuddered  at  the  utter  infidelity  and 
cold-blooded  dissection  of  all  faith  here  presented 
to  his  mind's  eye;  and  when  he  heard  the  twenty- 
first  paragraph,  where  it  says,  "  Quid  enim  Deus  sit, 
in    revelatione  quaJii-uiique    obscurius    ionge   est  quam 

l84  SPINOZA. 

antea^  it  seemed  as  if  his  whole  religious  belief  were 
being  torn  out  with  red  hot  tongs. 

"  Young  friend,  when  you  know  a  little  more  of 
life,"  said  the  physician  as  he  rose,  "  you  will  see 
that  the  morality  which  is  bartered  in  the  market 
of  life  was  not  created  out  of  ink-pots.  Your  Ju- 
daism and  our  Judaism  are  worth  nothing  now; 
your  Judaism  was  a  mummy  long  ago,  and  a  puff 
of  air  will  scatter  it  in  dust;  ours,  to  the  beginning 
of  the  last  century,  was  pure  barbarism;  it  has 
imbibed  a  classic  spirit  and  this  spirit  will  explode 
it.  Enter  the  bright  halls  of  classic  wisdom;  you 
will  there  learn  to  enjoy,  to  jest,  and  to  be  silent." 

"A  horrible  labyrinth  !"  said  Baruch  in  his  heart 
as  he  went  away;  "but  I  feel  that  a  clue  will  be 




*'  A  maid  in  the  morn  should  early  rise, 
And  seek  where  her  beloved  one  lies; 
Beneath  the  lime  trees  she  sought  him, 
Nor  found  her  love  where  she  thought  him." 

SO  sang  Olympia  van  den  Ende,  and  drew  out 
the  long  resounding  notes  of  her  small  organ 
in  powerful  chords  as  her  father  entered  the  room. 

"You  have  quite  risen  to  your  paradise  of  song 
to-day  again,"  said  he,  "  and  are  no  longer  aware 
of  what  happens  below  in  our  unmusical  world. 
We  passed  your  room  an  hour  ago.  I  have  brought 
the  much  spoken  of  M.  de  Spinoza  here  with  me  at 
last.  Allow  me  to  introduce  my  daughter;  she  is 
accredited  minister  in  my  sacred  doctrinal  office; 
you  must  be  on  good  terms  with  her." 

"  My  father  has  spoken  to  me  of  you  whenever 
he  returned  from  your  house,"  said  Olympia,  "  and 
I  am  rejoiced  to  see  my  wish  fulfilled  at  last.  But 
though  I  have  heard  so  much  about  you,  I  see  now 
that  I  had  quite  a  false  conception  of  your  personal 
appearance.  Tell  me,  since  you  are  a  philosopher, 
may  I  not  take  that  as  a  proof  that  all  our  impres- 
sions of  persons  and  things  lying  out  of  our  imme- 

1 86  SPINOZA. 

diäte  sphere  of  observation  are  incorrect  ?"  What 
a  first  encounter  was  this,  which  straightway  threw 
down  a  problem  to  be  solved,  and  dubbed  him  for 
the  first  time  philosopher  ! 

Baruch  lowered  his  eyes  to  avoid  her  scrutiny  of 
his  features;  he  bowed  mutely,  and  knew  not  what 
to  reply. 

"  You  will  find  my  daughter  a  half-fledged  philos- 
opher, with  whom  you  can  dispute  as  much  as  you 
like,"  said  the  physician  to  help  Baruch  out  of  the 
difficulty  which  he,  however,  was  hardly  conscious 

"  Oldenburg  has  sent  me  such  an  exquisite  song 
to-day,"  said  Olympia  to  her  father  as  she  passed 
him  the  sheets  of  music  and  turned  again  to 
Baruch.     "Are  you  musical,  Herr  von  Spinoza?" 


"But  you  can  sing  psalms  ?  You  must  sing  me 
a  Hebrew  psalm  some  day,  I  want  to  hear  how  it 
sounds.  Have  they  still  the  melodies  of  King 
David  ?" 

"  We  have  much  older  ones;  for  nearly  all  our 
synagogue  chants  traditionally  come  from  Mount 
Sinai,  though  the  words  were  composed  much  later; 
the  melodies  were  meanwhile  passed  on  from  miouth 
to  mouth." 

"  That  is  interesting;  it  is  just  as  if  clothes 
walked  without  bodies,  or  an  arsenal  fought  a  bat- 
tle without  soldiers." 

BENEDICT  us  SIT.  \%>j 

**I  spoke  only  of  the  accepted  tradition,"  an- 
swered Baruch. 

"  Oh,  but  it  is  a  beautiful  legend.  It  must  have 
been  glorious,"  continued  Olympia:  "  The  rolling 
thunder,  and  the  sounding  of  the  innumerable 
trumpets  was  so  magnificent  an  accompaniment, 
truly  fm'wso,  but  it  must  have  been  so;  sing  me 
something  from  the  Sinai  Oratorio,  if  my  Christian 
ears  may  hear  it." 

Baruch  excused  himself  on  the  plea  that  he  did 
not  sing;  but  Olympia  was  so  imperative  that 
Baruch  did  not  know  how  to  avoid  the  awkward 

"  A  musical  fanatic !"  said  Van  den  Ende. 
"  Wait  awhile  till  Herr  von  Spinoza  offers  you  the 
scale  of  his  creed  himself;  you  put  people  who  do 
not  know  you  in  very  awkward  positions  with  your 
queer  whims."  • 

Olympia  excused  herself  to  Baruch  for  her 
vehemence,  she  was  so  excited,  he  must  not  judge 
unfavorably  of  her.  After  a  short  stay  Baruch 
went  away  in  unwonted  perplexity:  he  thought 
Olympia  had  made  fun  of  him,  and  not  of  him 
alone,  so  much  as  of  all  Judaism.  The  perception 
of  this  disturbed  this  deserter  from  his  early  asso- 
ciations much  more  now,  when  he  felt  himself  cut 
off  in  thought  and  action  from  his  associates. 

Such  was  his  first  meeting  with  Olympia  on  the 
day  on  which  Van  den  Ende  brought  him  first  into 

1 88  SPINOZA. 

his  house.  He  often  encountered  her  afterwards, 
and  exchanged  a  few  words  with  her ;  but  other- 
wise troubled  himself  but  little  about  her.  He 
might  have  said  with  Job  xxxi.  i,  "  I  made  a 
covenant  with  mine  eyes;  why  then  should  I  think 
upon  a  maid  ?"  But  now  the  time  was  come  when 
he  must  think  upon  a  maid,  and  hang  with  fasci- 
nated attention  on  her  every  word.  The  physician 
had  gone  on  a  journey,  and  had  resigned  his  lessons 
to  his  daughter;   Baruch  too  was  her  pupil. 

Like  her  namesake  Olympia  Morata  of  Ferrara, 
whose  Greek  and  Latin  verse,  in  the  last  century, 
had  been  the  wonder  of  her  contemporaries,  Olympia 
van  den  Ende  was  quite  at  home  in  the  world  of 
classics,  but  inclined  more  to  scientific  investigation, 
so  that  she  might  easily  have  aspired  to  be  crowned 
with  the  hood  of  a  doctor  of  philosophy;  but  she 
knew  too  well  that  the  black  velvet  cap  with  its 
edging  of  Brussels  point  lace  suited  her  blonde 
locks  and  white  skin  much  better  than  the  pointed 
red  velvet  hood  of  a  doctor.  Cicero's  own  daughter 
Julia  did  not  answer  the  letters  of  her  eloquent 
father  in  more  elegant  Latin  than  the  daughter  of 
the  Amsterdam  physician.  Her  white  hands  often 
bore  traces  of  learned  ink,  for  she  exercised  a 
rigorous  censorship  over  her  pupil's  modes  of  ex- 
pression, if  they  would  not  have  been  accepted  in 
a  Roman  citizen;  her  smooth  white  brow  gathered 
into  folds  when  a  barbarism  came  under  her  notice; 


her  clear  blue  eyes  sparkled,  and  her  mouth,  which 
usually  had  a  certain  austerity  in  its  lines,  smiled 
pleasantly  and  gently  when  she  saw  that  her  pupils 
had  made  no  false  quantities  in  their  Latin  verses. 

Baruch  sat  before  his  instructress  with  some  dis- 
satisfaction in  their  first  lessons,  as  she  demon- 
strated the  finer  points  of  syntax  in  the  periods  of 
the  "  History  of  Alexander"  by  Curtius.  Olympia 
was  irritated  at  the  awkward  Jew,  who  answered 
all  her  questions  as  bashfully  as  possible;  she  stood 
up  and  paced  the  room  thoughtfully.  Baruch 
watched  the  tall,  slender  figure  with  its  ma- 
jestic movements,  and  instead  of  following  the 
manoeuvres  of  Alexander,  he  studied  the  features 
of  Olympia,  the  syntax  of  whose  enthusiastic  tem- 
per and  acuteness  of  intellect  he  could  as  little 
decipher  as  the  involved  periods  of  Curtius. 

The  instruction  at  first  was  as  unsatisfactory  in 
this  case  as  in  that  of  the  old  Magister  Nigritius; 
for  Baruch,  since  their  first  meeting,  had  always 
approached  Olympia  with  dislike.  She  soon,  how- 
ever, understood  where  to  find  points  of  agree- 
ment between  their  differently  constituted  minds, 
which  made  their  meetings  more  agreeable  to 
Baruch.  He  was  happy  soon  to  find  their  conver- 
sation of  anything  rather  than  Latin.  He  con- 
versed with  Olympia  on  the  ruling  laws  of  history, 
on  the  fate  of  men  and  nations;  she  found  Baruch's 
ideas  peculiar  enough,  often  strange,  for  he  was 



accustomed  to  look  at  everything  from  the  stand- 
point of  Jewish  history,  and  to  judge  by  comparison 
or  affinity  with  that.  This  gave  it  a  more  interest- 
ing turn  for  Olympia,. for  all  that  Baruch  said  was 
so  uncommon,  and  showed  such  unusual  intellectual 
activity,  that  Olympia  felt  absolved  from  the  sin  of 
unconscientiousness  in  neglecting  instruction  so 
little  needed.  The  minds  of  both  penetrated  to 
the  remotest  zones  and  periods,  and  there  found 
each  other  again,  for  both  felt  the  same  impulse  to 
discover  the  origin  of  the  world  and  its  designs. 
Baruch  now  looked  forward  eagerly  to  the  lesson 
hour,  and  set  out  on  his  way  thither  long  before  the 
hour  chimed.  It  often  happened  that  Olympia, 
looking  out  of  the  window,  would  see  him  far  off, 
and  nod  to  him  kindly. 

One  day  they  had  been  reading  in  the  eighth 
chapter  of  the  seventh  book  the  well-known  con- 
versation of  the  Scythian  envoys  with  Alexander. 
Olympia  remarked,  "It  is  characteristic  that 
Valerius  Maximus  relates  how  Aristarchus  had 
said  to  the  king,  *  According  to  Democritus  there 
are  innumerable  worlds.'  '  Alas  !  *  said  the  king, 
*I  unfortunately  have  not  yet  conquered  one.'  " 

"  In  the  Talmud  there  are  many  extraordinary 
legends  about  the  '  Macedonian  Alexander,*  for 
whom  the  world  was  too  narrow,"  replied  Baruch. 

"  Oh,  tell  me  them,  do  tell  them,"  said  Olympia. 


"  I  do  so  like  such  flowers  as  these    which   have 
sprung  from  the  glowing  East." 

There  was  a  knock  heard,  Olympia  cried  "  Enter  !" 
and  a  stately  man  with  handsome,  refined  features 
entered  the  room.  With  quiet  familiarity  he  ap- 
proached Olympia,  took  her  hand,  and  pressed  it 
to  his  lips. 

''  I  am  rejoiced,'  he  said,  "  to  be  permitted  to  kiss 
this  hand  that  holds  the  plectrum  and  the  style  of 
history  with  equal  skill,  and  has  already  pointed 
out  to  so  many  the  way  to  Attica's  and  Latium's 
glorious  fields." 

"  It  would  have  been  a  pity  if  you  had  not  been 
destined  for  a  diplomatic  career,"  replied  Olympia. 

"  Otherwise  I  should  not  have  had  the  pleasure 
of  telling  you  the  news  which  has  been  brought  to- 
day that  your  favorite,  the  pious  General  Oliver 
Cromwell,  is  named  Lord  Protector  by  the  army. 
Not  for  nothing  has  he  expelled  the  Parliament 
with  the  oratorical  epithet  of  *  you  drunkards  ! ' " 

"  You  always  laugh  at  his  oratory;  he  is  no 
Demosthenes,"  said  Olympia,  "  but  a  strong  char- 
acter with  deep  insight.  I  am  very  glad  he  has 
risen  so  high.  But  how  do  things  go  with  us  ? 
Can  you  tell  me  whether  there  are  definite  tidings 
how  many  men  were  lost  in  the  last  storm  ?" 

"No;  but  some  comedy  was  even  there  mingled 
with  the  tragedy.     I  have  often  told  you  that  my 

192  SPINOZA. 

native  Lower  Saxony  had  considerable  similarity  in 
customs  and  ideas  with  your  native  land;  in  one 
thing,  however,  they  are  very  different,  and  that  is 
in  their  treatment  of  the  Jews.  In  my  pious  town 
they  never  would  have  suffered  one  of  the  children 
of  Abraham  to  equip  a  ship  and  send  it  to  sea  in 
the  name  of  'the  Jew;'  is  not  the  Northern  Ocean 
Christian  water  ?  So  the  sfea  has  overwhelmed  the 
Jews  first.  I  heard  from  my  window  this  morning 
an  old  sailor  telling  his  comrades  that  it  all  came 
of  associating  with  Jews." 

Baruch  had  risen  when  the  stranger  entered, 
he  had  put  his  book  under  his  arm,  and  would 
have  taken  leave  of  Olympia ;  twice  he  would 
have  bowed,  but  as  the  stranger  stood  between 
she  did  not  see  him ;  he  advanced  again,  but 
again  the  stranger  interposed  between  him  and 

"  I  must  explain,"  continued  the  stranger,  ''  why 
I  have  come  at  so  unusual  an  hour.  You  are  going 
to  the  Rederykers  Kamer  *  this  evening,  of  course. 
I  wanted  to  remind  you  to  go  to  the  Botanical 
Garden  first;  you  will  see  what  you  have  probably 
never  seen  before,  a  palm-tree  in  bloom;  the  flowers 
are  so  large  that  ten  families  of  elves  could  easily 
live  therein." 

Here   was    another   pause,    and    Baruch  at   last 

*  A  sort  of  theatre. 



succeeded  in  bowing  to  Olympia  and  stammering 
out  a  few  words. 

"You  must  not  go  yet,  Herr  von  Spinoza,"  she 
said;  "  you  must  first  tell  me  the  legend,  and  when 
I  go  to  see  the  lilies  of  the  south  I  can  tell  them 
something  from  their  native  land." 

"The  sailor's  legends  may  be  the  truer,  I  there- 
fore prefer  to  go,"  said  Baruch  with  a  glance  at  the 

"Ah!"  said  he  rising,  "my  old  friend  Casper  Bar- 
laus  was  right,  he  had  had  much  intercourse  with 
Jews,  and  was  at  first  prejudiced  in  their  favor, 
thinking  them  all  witty;  but  he  often  complained  of 
one  of  their  failings,  their  sensitiveness;  the  most 
innocent  look,  the  most  harmless  jest,  was  mistaken 
for  mockery.  I  can  assure  you,  that  it  was  not  my 
object  to  offend  you  in  the  least,  and  Jufrow  Olym- 
pia can  bear  witness  to  my  most  unchristian  par- 
tiality for  the  Jews." 

"  Yes,"  she  said,  "  and  it  was  all  my  fault  for  not 
introducing  you;  Herr  von  Spinoza  you  know  now; 
and  this  is  Herr  Oldenburg,  a  member  off  the 
Bremen  Embassy.  Now  pray  tell  me  the  legend, 
or  else  I  shall  think  myself  the  cause  of  a  misunder- 
standing that  I  should  greatly  regret."  Baruch 
tried  to  protest. 

"  I  will  give  him  a  lesson,"  said  Oldenburg. 
**  Remember  always  that  Jufrow  Olympia  prays 
daily   *  May  my  will   be  done   in   Heaven    as    on 



earth,'  so  begin  to  narrate;  you  must  do  it  in  the 

Baruch  then  related  the  well-known  legend  of 
how  Alexander  advanced  to  the  gates  of  Eden  with 
his  army.  Oldenburg  then  told,  out  of  the  old 
poems  of  the  priest  Lamprecht  and  Ulrich  von 
Eschenbach,  the  glorious  legends  in  which  the 
poetical  German  spirit  had  celebrated  the  great 
deeds  of  Alexander.  And  in  interchange  of  opin- 
ions on  the  great  hero  of  old  times,  whose  life, 
though  he  had  found  no  Homer,  the  poetical  legends 
of  all  nations,  both  Eastern  and  Western,  had  col- 
ored in  brightest  hues,  the  three  passed  a  pleasant 
hour.  The  stranger  and  Olympia  stared  in  aston- 
ishment at  Baruch  when  he  declared  with  quiet 
decision  that  fear  was  the  original  and  sustaining 
cause  of  superstition.  He  quoted  Alexander  as  a 
striking  proof  of  this,  for  whenever  circumstances 
were  unfavorable,  or  misfortunes  occurred,  he 
called  in  sacrifices  and  superstitious  observances  to 
his  aid.  While  Baruch  sought  the  corroborating 
passages  in  Curtius,  from  Book  iv.  Chap.  lo,  and 
Book  V.  Chap.  4,  etc.,  his  two  listeners  recognized 
an  extraordinary  mind  that  would  shed  new  mean- 
ings on  the  past. 

From  that  time  Oldenburg  came  oftener,  when 
he  knew  that  Baruch  was  with  Olympia,  and  she 
was  glad  to  see  the  two  young  men  become  dally 
more  friendly.     She  took  a   certain  pride  in  being 



the  link  between  two  such  dissimilar  characters, 
and  she  understood  how  to  bring  to  light  continual 
affinities  between  the  travelled  experience  and  ex- 
tensive reading  of  Oldenburg,  and  the  deep  pene- 
trative spirit  of  Baruch.  Besides  the  accomplish- 
ments of  a  finished  man  of  the  world  Oldenburg 
possessed  another  quality,  seldom  noticed,  but 
which,  though  unnoticed,  is  an  important  element 
in  a  first  impression — this  "  is  a  full-toned,  well- 
modulated  voice.  All  that  Oldenburg  said  received 
through  this  harmonious  quality  a  fulness  and 
roundness  which  immediately  and  involuntarily 
attracted  favor.  Baruch  and  Oldenburg  were 
friends  without  a  word  passing  between  them  on 
the  subject. 

"  You  will  soon  have  finished  your  Latin  course," 
said  Olympia  to  Baruch  one  day;  "  how  would  it  be 
if  you  gave  me  a  course  of  Hebrew  lessons?" 

"  I  recommend  to  you  then  the  Polyglot  of  the 
Father  in  the  Church,  Origen,"  said  Oldenburg 
laughing,  "then  you  may  jump  from  one  language 
to  another,  as  it  may  please  your  restless  mind. 
Apply  to  me,  and  I  will  get  you  appointed  to  the 
chair  of  Casaubon  or  Scaliger.  I  can  see  how  the 
Studiosi  would  troop  to  the  college,  if  the  learned 
Olympia  van  den  Ende  were  to  explain  the  Song 
of  Solomon  in  the  language  of  the  original." 

"  Remember,"  interrupted  Baruch,  "  it  is  the 
sacred  language  that  you  wish  to  learn." 

196  SPINOZA. 

"  Are  you  a  saint  then  ?"  retorted  she.  "  You 
must  have  a  Hebrew  name;  what  are  you  called  ?" 

"  Baruch." 

"Bahruch!"  excJaimed  Olympia,  shaking  with 
laughter.  "Bahruch!  ugh!  it  makes  me  quite  ill 
and  frightened,  it  is  so  like  a  conjuration.  The 
name  would  sound  lugubrious  in  music;  I  should 
accompany  it  with  F  minor;  listen!"  She  went  to 
the  organ,  and  sang  "  Bahruhcn  !*'  over  and  over 
again,  accompanying  it  with  the  dreary  note.  "  For 
Heaven's  sake,  give  up  the  name,  or  something  bad 
will  happen  to  you,"  she  continued.  "I  had  a  dear 
friend  whose  beloved  was  named  Balthasar  Prom- 
pronius,  who  was  very  unfortunate.  'Dear  Bal- 
thasar ! '  no,  that  will  not  do,  that  cannot  be  said 
expressively,  it  will  not  come  out  of  your  mouth, 
and  cracks  your  ear;  my  friend  was  very  unhappy, 
for  she  was  always  obliged  to  say  *  dear,'  alone,  and 
at  last  meant  some  one  else  by  it.  The  bad  taste  of 
the  name  had  a  great  deal  to  do  with  her  misfor- 
tunes, it  is  my  firm  belief." 

"You  are  not  such  an  infidel  as  you  represent 
yourself,"  said  Baruch. 

"  Bahruch  !"  chanted  Olympia  again,  and  put 
forth  the  full  power  of  her  deepest  notes  to  lay  the 
most  melancholy  stress  on  the  name.  "  Baruch  ! 
no,  that  will  not  do;  for  your  future  wife's  sake, 
take  care  that  she  does   not  meet  the  fate  of  mv 




poor  Matilda;  follow  my  advice  and  take  another 
name.     Has  this  cry  of  woe  a  meaning  ?" 

"  Oh,  yes  !  it  means  '  blessed.'  " 

"  Bravo  !  Glorious  !"  cried  Olympia,  and  clapped 
her  hands.  "  Benedictus  !  that  is  a  glorious  name. 
If  you  were  a  pope  you  would  be  the  XIV.;  seventy- 
üve  years  after  your  death  you  would  be  canonized, 
and  people  would  make  pilgrimages  to  the  wonder- 
working tomb  of  St.  Benedict.  '  Dear  Benedict,' 
listen  how  soft  and  tender  that  sounds;  but  Bah- 
ruch,  brrr !  Give  me  your  hand,  and  promise  me 
henceforth  to  be  called  Benedictus.  You  are  a 
learned  man,  so  you  must  have  a  Latin  name. 
You  will  be  very  celebrated  some  day,  and  then 
I  shall  have  handed  down  a  name  to  posterity. 
You  must  leave  some  occasion  for  wit  to  your  ad- 
versaries. I  can  see  how  an  anathema  against  you 
would  begin:  ^Benedictus  est  Spinoza^  quem  recti  us 
maledictum  dixeris'  *  The  Romans  turned  the  town 
Malevent  in  Lower  Italy  into  Benevent,  and  the 
wise  Magister,  who  christened  you  so  wittily,  was 
after  all  only  guilty  of  a  plagiarism;  but  I  can 
imagine  how  he  would  stroke  his  chin,  the  black 
cap  on  his  learned  head  pushed  back,  simpering 
with    satisfaction    that  he   had  branded  you   in  a 

*  Blessed   is   Spinoza   named,  who  should  rather  be  called 
cursed. . 



word  And  alas  !  the  merit  will  never  be  recog- 
nized; I  am  the  originator  of  this  sublime  jest;  but 
for  me  you  would  have  been  called  Baruch  for- 
ever; a  name  that  Aristophanes  himself  might 
laugh  at,  but  could  never  make  a  jest  of." 

Olympia  thus  talked  on,  all  opposition  and,  in- 
terruption from  Baruch  being  fruitless. 

"  If  you  will  not  follow  my  advice  with  free 
will,"  continued  Olympia,  "  I  will  call  you  nothing 
from  this  minute  but  Rabbi  Bahruhch;  yes,  I  will 
buy  a  parrot,  and  teach  him  to  repeat  the  words 
'  Rabbi  Bahruhch  '  till  he  speaks  them  fluently;  then 
I  will  hang  him  in  the  window,  and  when  you  come 
near  the  house  he  will  call  out  to  you,  *  Rabbi 
Bahruhch  !  Rabbi  Bahruhch  ! '  I  can  see  how  the 
people  will  stop  before  the  house  to  see  what  the 
individual  can  look  like  who  is  called  by  a  name 
that  sounds  like  a  raven's  croak.  For  the  last  time, 
will  you  follow  my  advice  ?" 

**  Did  I  not  tell  you  the  first  day  we  met,"  said 
Oldenburg,  "  that  Jufrow  Olympia  was  the  incar- 
nation of  self-will  ?  Obey  without  dispute.  You 
surely  will  not  bring  down  strange  torments  on 
yourself  ?" 

Baruch  consented,  and  gave  Olympia  his  hand, 
which  she  pressed  warmly. 

"Sit  down,"  she  said;  "and  you,  Herr  Oldenburg, 
come  here,  you  shall  be  witness  of  the  baptism." 
She  then  laid   her   hands  on   Baruch's    head,  and 



said,  "  In  the  name  of  Aristotle,  Bacon,  and  Des- 
cartes I  give  thee  the  name  Benedictus;  that  the 
name  may  become  great,  and  last  forever  and  ever, 
and  that,  whenever  thou  writest  that  name,  thou 
mayest  think  of  her  from  whom  the  word  arose. 
Benedicite  !  In  scecida  scBculormn^  Amen  /"  The  con- 
cluding words  she  sang  to  a  church  chant. 

"  Have  I  done  it  right  ?"  she  asked  as  she  raised 
her  hands,  and  as  if  involuntarily  stroked  Benedict's 
cheek  with  the  right. 

"So  well,"  said  Oldenburg,  "that  if  you  should 
find  my  name  Henry,  or  Hendrik  as  it  is  called  in 
this  country,  unmusical,  I  would  let  you  give  me 
another  without  fear  of  being  accused  of  blas- 
phemy. I  should  so  like  to  know  hew  it  feels  to 
be  under  your  blessing  hands." 

Olympia  blushed,  but  passed  her  hand  over  her 
face  to  hide  her  confusion. 


A    NEW  MAN. 

FROM  the  bright  friendly  circle  where  he  was 
named  Benedict  he  must  return  to  the  mo- 
notonous and  uncongenial  surroundings  where  he 
was  called  Baruch,  and  think  and  act  as  such. 

Why  was  the  name  Benedict  more  harmonious 
than  the  name  Baruch  ?  It  was  only  the  prejudice 
of  a  Gentile,  to  whom  the  sacred  language  was 
unfamiliar  and  harsh.  But  yet  is  not  this  naming 
anew  a  sign  that  he  was  henceforth  to  live  and 
think  like  the  whole  intellectual  world  in  word  and 
deed  ?  Is  there  not  a  deeper  meaning  in  the  fact 
that  the  patriarchs  Abraham  and  Jacob  altered 
their  names  on  receiving  a  new  covenant  ?  Darest 
thou  create  precedents  for  thyself  from  the  Bible  ? 
And  always  the  Bible  ?  .  .  . 

Pondering  thus  Spinoza  left  the  Van  den  Ende's 
house.  His  family  name  remained  unaltered,  and 
with  it  the  indissoluble  connection  between  his  past 
and  future;  within  these  limits  and  depending  on 
these  associations  to  no  one  is  granted  the  power 
of  freely  following  out  a  train  of  thought.  The 
crown  he  had  once  received  in  the  title  of  Rabbi 
had  passed  from  his  brow;  a  fair  consecrating  hand 

A   NEW  MAN,  20 1 

had  rested  on  his  head,  and  given  him  another 

He  went  straight  from  Olympia  to  the  School  of 
the  Crown  of  the  Law.  It  struck  him  as  irony  that 
here,  in  this  unrelieved  monotony,  men  should 
crown  themselves.  It  all  seemed  so  dull  and  de- 
pressing, even  more  so  than  it  really  was.  The  gay 
jests  and  pleasant  voice  of  Olympia  still  rang  in  his 
memory,  the  Litany  of  the  scholars  sitting  here  and 
there  at  the  tables  sounded  discordantly  in  his  ears. 
He  sat  down  in  a  corner  to  follow  his  own  thoughts 
undisturbed  ever  an  open  book,  when  Chisdai  came 
to  him  and  asked  him  the  meaning  of  a  difficult 
passage  in  the  Talmud.  Baruch  did  not  spend 
long  over  it. 

"I  always  said,"  began  Chisdai,  **  that  you  would 
be  a  perfect  Samson  in  intellect  and  learning.  If 
people  will  not  let  you  in  and  out,  you  take  the 
door,  locks  and  bolts  and  all,  on  your  back,  and 
carry  them  off;  but  for  God's  sake,  and  your  hopes 
of  his  mercy,  do  not  let  yourself  be  allured  by  the 
Delilah  to  whom  you  are  now  straying.  I  have 
never  seen  her  myself — God  forbid  ! — but  from 
what  I  hear  from  others  she  is  no  longer  young 
and  should  not  be  fair." 

"  I  do  not  know  what  you  mean;  let  me  alone," 
said  Baruch  crossly. 

"What  I  mean  ?"  replied  the  other.  "  How  you 
pretend  !     The  physician's  daughter,  I  mean;  what 

202  spmozA. 

is  her  name  ?  Oh,  Olympia  van  den  Ende,  who  is 
so  clever  that  she  speaks  seven  languages.  I  entreat 
you,  follow  my  advice;  if  those  over  there  really 
mean  well  by  you,  they  will  have  you  out  and  out; 
act  like  a  Samson,  catch  the  foxes,  bind  their  tails, 
set  fire  to  them,  and  send  them  into  the  ripe  corn- 
fields of  the  Philistines.  You  understand  what  I 
mean;  but  I  fear,  I  fear,  they  will — God  forbid  ! — 
put  out  your  eyes;  they  will  take  away  thy  strength, 
and  make  thee  a  jest." 

"  It  is  a  pity,"  replied  Baruch,  "  you  have  not 
kept  this  new  application  of  Samson's  history  to 
religious  controversy  for  your  morning's  sermon. 
But,  to  add  the  conclusion  to  it,  I  will  tell  you, 
that  if  they  could  or  would  do  what  you  mean,  I 
too  have  the  courage  to  cry  with  Samson,  '  Let  me 
die  with  the  Philistines  ! '  and  act  accordingly." 

It  pained  him  like  sacrilege  to  have  Olympia's 
name  spoken  by  Chisdai,  and  to  see  her  graceful 
figure  dragged  into  that  dismal  place.  His  dislike 
to  Chisdai  increased  more  and  more,  for  he  saw 
clearly  how  he  watched  every  turn  of  his  mind, 
and  spied  into  its  workings;  he  must  have  some 
special  object  in  it,  for  Chisdai  was  not  to  be  kept 
at  a  distance  by  even  the-  most  marked  rudeness. 
On  that  Sabbath  Chisdai  had  given  the  first  public 
evidence  of  his  oratorical  powers.  The  attempt 
was  an  utter  failure. 

"  I  was  not  wholly  unfavorably  disposed  towards 

A   NE  IV  MAM. 


Chisdai's  suit  for  your  sister  Miriam,"  said  his 
father  as  he  left  the  synagogue  with  Baruch. 
"  Chisdai  has  some  fortune,  and  will  some  day 
have  a  fair  addition  to  it;  he  is  not  so  very  plain, 
and  I  cannot  understand  what  has  come  to  Miriam, 
that  she  says  she  feels  such  an  unconquerable  aver- 
sion for  him.  I  see  now,  however,  that  he  will 
never  be  the  remarkable  man  we  thought  he  would 
be;  and  if  I  am  not  to  have  the  pleasure  of  seeing 
my  daughter  the  wife  of  a  celebrated  and  learned 
author,  I  would  rather  give  her  to  Samuel  Casseres." 
Baruch  assented. 

"  I  think  it  is  time,"  continued  his  father,  "  that 
you  should  make  yourself  heard;  it  will  give  honor 
to  your  whole  family.  I  should  like  to  see  you  up 
there  with  my  old  eyes.  Who  knows  how  long  I 
may  be  here  to  have  the  pleasure  ?" 

Baruch  made  no  reply;  he  thought  a  horrible 
dizziness  would  seize  him  if  he  stood  up  there  like 
the  others  who  spoke  with  such  unhesitating  deci- 
sion, as  if  they  had  seen  the  Lord  God  shuffle  the 
cards,  and  knew  exactly  why  he  played  this  or  that 
trump,  and  what  he  would  or  ought  to  play  out  in 
the  future. 

"Why  are  you  so  thoughtful?"  began  his  father 
again.  "  I  verily  believe  you  are  shy;  shame  on  you! 
you  were  so  bold  once.  Do  you  remember  how 
you  once  thought  it  would  be  the  greatest  happi- 
ness to  stand  up  there,  and  pour  forth  the  living 

204  SPINOZA, 

word  of  the  Spirit  of  God  for  the  whole  congrega 

tioii  r 

"  I  am  ill,  I  have  almost  always  palpitation  of  the 
heart.     You  know  not  long  ago  I  spat  blood." 

"Pooh,  pooh,  excuses!  I  have  already  spoken  to 
our  Chacham  Aboab;  he  is  willing  to  let  you  preach 
this  day  fortnight.  I  will  speak  to  Silva,  our  doctor; 
if  he  allows  it  you  must  fulfil  my  wishes,  or  I  will 
not  forgive  you  it  on  my  death-bed." 

What  could  he  reply  to  this  ?  Silva  gave  per- 
mission, and  Baruch  must  prepare  to  preach.  Who 
can  imagine  the  conflicting  feelings  that  were 
aroused  by  the  composition  of  this  sermon  ?  Who 
can  calculate  the  mocking  thoughts  that  followed 
him  when  he  went  to  Olympia,  and  read  with  her 
the  pictures  of  the  gay,  pleasurable  life  of  the  hea- 
thens; when  he  enjoyed  the  worldly  jests  of  Olden- 
burg, and  then  returned  to  the  working  out  of  his 
sermon  ? 

The  young  preacher  had  many  books  open  before 
him  in  which  to  search  for  examples,  similes  and 
questions.  His  hand  rested  on  an  open  volume  of 
Maimonides,  and  his  eyes  wandered  to  the  rows  of 
books  in  shelves  against  the  wall.  There  rested 
the  words  and  thoughts  of  vanished  minds.  They 
too  struggled,  doubted,  sorrowed  and  at  last  found 
peace.  Is  it  not  presumption  to  turn  their  life  and 
learning  to  folly  ?  Thousands  were  wiser  than  thou 
art.     Bow  thy  proud  spirit  in  humility,  and  thou 

A    NEW  MAN.  20^ 

wilt  again  enter  into  peace;  thou  art  heir  of  the 
blessedness  which  made  happy  those  of  old  times. 
Thou  wilt  and  thou  canst,  thou  must.  How  wilt 
thou  find  the  strength  for  a  lonely  ro3.d  in  which 
no  one  will  follow  thee  but  thine  own  conscious- 
ness ?  The  spirits  of  thy  forefathers  rise  and  bless 
thee,  enclosing  thee  in  their  circle 

Such  is  the  traditional  consolation  which  up- 
holds the  wavering  powers  as  if  with  supernatural 
aid;  long  vanished  capabilities  return  to  help  and 

A  radiant  ecstasy  shone  from  the  eyes  of  the 
gazer,  and  his  left  hand  was  laid  on  his  breast  as 
the  new  peace  possessed  it.  Will  this  traditional 
consolation  and  resignation,  which  now  pacifies  the 
stormy  struggle,  always  bring  the  same  calm  ?  Or 
will  the  yearnings  again  awake  in  the  soul  that  can 
only  receive  satisfaction  from  itself  ? 

The  appointed  Sabbath  came ;  the  silence  of  ex- 
pectation reigned  in  the  synagogue  as  Baruch 
mounted  the  altar  steps.  What  devil  brought  the 
image  of  Olympia  at  that  moment  before  his  mind 
so  clearly  that  he  heard  her  mocking  tones,  "  Rabbi 
Baruch!  Rabbi  Baruch!"  He  summoned  his  reso- 
lution to  banish  all  traces  of  the  vision  from  his 
mind  in  such  a  time  and  place.  He  stood  up  as 
pale  as  a  corpse,  and  dried  the  cold  perspiration 
from  his  brow.  All  eyes  were  upon  him.  He  be- 
gan in  a  trembling  voice: 

2o6  SPINOZA. 

"The  Lord  is  nigh  unto  all  them  that  call  upon 
him,  to  all  that  call  upon  him  in  truth."  Ps.  cxlv. 
i8.  He  represented  in  vivid  colors  the  fate  of  the 
infidel,  who  had  no  God  in  Heaven,  and  none  in 
his  heart.  He  had  come  to  the  second  part  of  his 
sermon,  where  he  extolled  the  blessedness  of  the 
faith  common  to  all  men;  he  described  the  felicity 
of  being  even  in  life  gathered  to  his  fathers,  united 
in  the  acceptation  and  building  up  of  what  was 
grounded  by  them;  in  this  rests  the  strength  of 
their  earthly  existence.  His  eloquence  was  fiery, 
his  voice  echoed  powerfully,  when  he  felt  a  violent 
choking  sensation;  he  stopped,  and  blood  flowed 
from  his  mouth  into  the  damp  handkerchief. 

The  stillness  of  a  graveyard  pervaded  the  whole 
assembly;  the  people  looked  at  one  another,  and 
then  pitifully  at  the  fainting  youth.  The  father 
had  already  opened  his  mouth  to  tell  his  son  to 
come  down,  when  Baruch  stood  up  again  and  closed 
the  service  with  a  short  prayer.  As  with  one  mouth 
the  whole  congregation  cried  out,  '*  Jejasher  Koach!" 
(the  Lord  strengthen  thee)  the  usual  applause  in 
the  synagogue. 

Baruch  and  his  father  left  the  synagogue  imme- 
diately. As  they  passed  Chisdai's  seat,  he  asked 
kindly  if  he  might  accompany  them.  Baruch 
thanked  hJm.  In  all  quarters  the  Sabbath  talk  was 
of  Baruch's  misfortune;  old  women  and  the  wise- 
acres prophesied  melancholy  things.     Only  Chisdai, 

A   NEW  MAN- 


usually  not  slow  in  his  judgments,  shrugged  his 
shoulders  when  questioned.  He  had  his  reasons 
for  not  speaking  out. 

In  three  days  Baruch  again  left  his  bed.  He 
wished  to  go  to  Olympia. 

"You  shall  never  mention  that  house  to  me 
again,"  said  his  father  in  evident  displeasure. 
"  Fine  tales  I  have  heard  of  the  little  doctor.  He 
is  said  to  be  the  incarnation  of  Satan  himself.  The 
son  of  the  indigo  merchant,  Grönhof,  who  died  a 
week  ago,  confessed  before  his  death  that  till  then 
he  had  had  no  faith;  the  doctor  had  brought  him  to 
that  pass.  He  has  founded  a  whole  sect.  I  did 
know  the  name;  what  is  it  called  ?  But  whether  or 
no,  you  shall  never  cross  his  threshold  again." 

Baruch  tried  to  dissuade  his  father,  but  he  only 
went  on:  "The  daughter  is  said  to  be  worse  than 
the  father;  she  can  talk  the  devil's  ear  off  in  seven 
different  languages.  I  don't  attend  usually  to  com- 
mon talk,  but  this  lady  is  surrounded  by  a  swarm 
of  learned  flatterers.  Believe  me,  I  know  the  world 
better  than  you;  there  all  is  jesting,  laughter  and 
song,  witty  dispute,  rich  fanciful  ideas,  in  finely 
expressed  trifling.  A  pure  mind  like  yours  sees 
nothing  in  it  but  the  laudable  freedom  and  gayety 
of  the  classic  world.  I  have  heard  it  called  so  too; 
but,  properly  looked  at,  it  is  frivolous  mummery, 
that  recognizes  neither  law  nor  limit.  Have  your 
parents  left  their  fair  native  land  for  this — resign- 

208  SPINOZA. 

ing  all  glory  and  honor  to  endure  mere  sufferance 
— that  now  their  children  may  fall  into  frivolous 
trifling  with  all  that  is  most  sacred  ?  You  know  the 
writings  of  our  religion  better  than  I,  but  I  have 
more  experience  of  the  world.  Let  me  not  have  it  in 
vain.  Believe  me,  you  will  find  dust  and  ashes  if 
you  give  yourself  up  to  the  allurements  of  the  world. 
Remain  in  the  quiet  sanctuary  of  sacred  learning, 
and  rejoice  that  you  can  live  there  undisturbed,  as 
you  proclaimed  this  day  yourself." 

The  father's  voice  was  deeply  moved.  Who  knows 
how  much  lay  behind  these  hastily  uttered  words  ? 
Transplanted  to  a  strange  soil  he  had  aged  rapidly. 
It  seemed  as  if  sorrow  still  oppressed  him,  that  the 
fair  native  land,  with  its  proud  pleasures,  had  van- 
ished forever  for  him.  Perhaps  for  that  reason  he 
clung  all  the  more  to  heavenly  joys,  and  strove  to 
bind  his  son  to  such  alone. 

The  father's  existence  was  twofold.  The  rap- 
turous sensations  that  had  filled  his  soul  when 
Baruch  received  rabbinical  honors  were  a  com- 
bination of  religious  exaltation  and  worldly  pride. 
On  that  Sabbath  he  was  another  man  than  on  the 
days  of  work.  He  had  still  to  struggle  against  mem- 
ories of  the  past,  all  the  more  since  his  wife  had 
been  torn  from  him;  he  strove  continually,  more 
than  was  apparently  requisite,  to  live  in  the  present, 
and  external  cares  and  sorrows  oppressed  him 
deeply.     He  was  an  exile;  his  own  heart  was  never 

A   NEW  MAN. 


free  from  the  painful  recollections  of  his  home.  He 
had  left  it  for  the  sake  of  his  faith  and  to  ensure 
to  his  children  freedom  of  worship.  As  it  must  be 
so,  all  the  more  zealously  was  he  determined  to 
watch  over  his  son,  that  the  peace  of  his  life  also 
might  not  be  disturbed  by  strange  reminiscences. 
The  youth,  whom  the  physician  had  warned  against 
all  violent  speaking,  tried,  in  a  soft  voice  and  care- 
fully guarded  language,  to  teach  his  father  to  think 
otherwise  of  Olympia  and  her  friends.  There  was  a 
knock  at  the  door,  and  Oldenburg  entered,  accom- 
panied by  a  friend.  Oldenburg  advanced  and  held 
out  his  hand  to  Baruch. 

"  That  is  well,"  he  said;  "  you  have  not  yet  signed 
yourself  a  candidate  for  the  lower  world.  We  were 
anxious,  because  you  gave  us  no  information. 
Jufrow  Olympia  sends  you  her  compliments;  she 
remarked  some  time  ago  that  you  must  be  ill.  So 
on  her  bidding  I  ventured  to  make  my  first  call  on 
you,  and  because  I  thought  you  must  be  seriously 
ill,  I  brought  my  friend  Dr.  Ludwig  Meyer  with  me, 
who,  moreover,  has  long  wished  to  make  your  ac- 

"  Yes,  I  was  very  anxious  about  my  son,"  said  his 
father,  and  Oldenburg  bowed  to  the  speaker. 

"  So  you  are  the  father  of  our  young  philosopher  ? 
Did  you  not  come  to  me  a  short  time  ago  about  a 
claim  on  the  house  of  Trost  ?" 

"  Yes," 

210  SPINOZA, 

"Excuse  me  for  being  so  short  then;  I  was  en- 
gaged with  pressing  business.  I  was  very  sorry  I 
did  not  tell  you  so.  Your  affair  was  not  forgotten, 
however.  I  wrote  to  Bremen  concerning  it,  and  re- 
ceived answer  that  if  you  were  not  paid  within  four 
weeks  an  execution  would  be  put  in." 

*'  I  am  much  obliged  for  your  trouble,  and  for  the 
honor  you  have  done  my  house  by  this  visit" 

Oldenburg  then  talked  earnestly  with  the  father, 
who  felt  himself,  to  his  surprise,  much  taken  with 
Oldenburg's  open-hearted  manner.  It  might  be 
said  that  Oldenburg's  whole  behavior  in  tone  and 
character  was  expressed  in  his  voice,  full,  tranquil 
and  trustworthy.  He  told  the  father  that  Baruch 
was  the  first  Jew  whom  he  had  learned  to  know  in- 
timately. He  was  not  only  astonished  at  his  powers 
of  mind,  and  in  love  with  his  noble  spirit;  he  was 
under  obligations  to  him  for  having  removed  pre- 
judices engrafted  by  early  education  and  custom. 
Oldenburg's  sincere  and  extraordinary  affection  for 
Baruch,  never  shown  to  him  in  words,  was  now  re- 
vealed to  his  father,  and  made  his  countenance 
brighten  with  pleasure.  The  heart  of  the  old 
Spaniard  was  stirred  by  the  chivalric  appearance 
of  Oldenburg,  whose  grace  was  as  a  memory  of  his 

Meyer  meanwhile  conversed  with  Baruch  on  his 
breakdown  of  the  previous  Sabbath. 

"You  should  have  followed  the  example  of  our 

A   NEW  MAN.  .  211 

rough-spoken,  brave  old  Dr.  Luther,"  said  the 
young  physician  with  the  dark  complexion  and 
flashing  black  eyes. 

"  What  did  he  do  ?"  inquired  Baruch. 

"  He  once  said:  *  When  I  mount  the  pulpit  I  look 
at  the  human  beings,  but  regard  them  as  mere 
blocks  standing  before  me,  and  speak  out  God's 
word.'  In  a  certain  sense — in  which  sense,  however, 
he  did  not  mean  it — I  agree  with  him  entirely.  You 
must  study  the  man;  he  has  a  certain  proportion  of 
faith  which  is  wanting  in  me,  but  he  was  thoroughly 
honest.     I  am  much  interested  in  him." 

"I  am  glad  you  too  are  a  theologian." 

"I  lead  a  sort  of  amphibious  life  between  theology 
and  medicine." 

"  Yes,  Herr  von  Spinoza,"  said  Oldenburg  join- 
ing in  the  conversation.  "Meyer  has  medicine  for 
a  wife,  and  theology  for  a  mistress.  You  can  dispute 
with  him;  he  knows  the  Bible  by  heart."  The  father 
accompanied  Oldenburg  and  Meyer  to  the  door  on 
their  departure,  and  was  not  displeased  that  the 
passers-by  should  see  who  had  visited  him.  His 
face  was  still  bright  when  he  returned  to  his  son, 
and  he  said: 

"Herr  Oldenburg  thinks  very  highly  of  you.  I 
know  the  difference  well  enough  between  mere 
patronage  and  real  sincerity.  You  may  congratu- 
late yourself  on  having  such  a  gallant,  upright  man 
for  a  friend," 

212  SPINOZA. 

"And  yet  I  must  avoid  him  and  his  associates?" 
asked  Baruch. 

"  I  warned  you,"  concluded  his  father,  "  against 
underhand  work;  you  are  sharp-sighted  enough 
now  to  see  through  such.  I  have  nothing  against 
your  being  with  Oldenburg." 

Spinoza  continued  his  visits  to  Olympia  un- 
hindered. He  became  more  and  more  intimate 
with  Oldenburg,  while  with  Meyer  their  intellectual 
intercourse  led,  through  their  common  zeal  for 
study,  to  the  same  kind  of  intimacy  which  is 
brought  about  by  travelling  companionship,  where, 
in  the  contemplation  of  the  new  and  strange,  they 
knew  themselves  to  be  in  dear  and  trusted  com- 
pany. Meyer  was,  though  in  some  respects  shal- 
low, well  informed  in  modern  speculation.  The  his- 
tory of  nations,  the  study  of  physical  science,  then 
followed  with  newly  awakened  zeal,  above  all,  the 
Cartesian  philosophy  opened  new  fields  of  study 
with  which  Spinoza  now  made  himself  familiar. 
The  "Letters"  and  the  "Treatise  on  Mankind," 
which  had  appeared  posthumously,  Descartes  being 
then  but  lately  dead,  made  his  doctrine,  just  be- 
cause of  the  light  thrown  on  one  so  lately  gone 
from  life,  all  the  more  impressive,  for  traces  of  the 
breath  of  that  life  yet  lay  therein,  and  even  phi- 
losophy, which  should  remain  independent  of  all 
contemporary  influences,  has  an  inexplicably  special 
power  in  the  presence  of  its  origin.     The  treatise  of 

A   NE  IV  MAN.  213 

Descartes  on  "  Method  "  especially  gave  our  young 
thinker  more  immediate  insight,  for  Descartes  here 
unites  to  the  history  of  his  own  development  the 
foundations  of  thought  in  general,  and  of  his  own 
system  of  philosophy  in  particular.  Just  this  sup- 
port from  the  individual  facilitated  his  progress  to 
the  universal. 

The  studies  and  investigations  of  our  young 
friend  had  hitherto  merely  been  extended  to  the 
limits  of  what  had  been  done,  showing  the  limit  of 
the  territory  illuminated  by  extinguished  emotional 
life.  His  mind  was  turned  to  the  movements  that 
agitated  the  world  around  him.  Human  nature 
and  its  peculiarities,  and  the  wide  kingdom  of  the 
manifold  forms  of  nature  around  us  here,  with 
its  governing  laws,  must  now  be  learned.  Is  it  im- 
possible ?  Must  it  not  be  possible  to  ascertain  the 
movements  of  immutable  human  nature  as  well 
as  under  similarly  fixed  laws  we  understand  the 
natural  life  around  us  ?  Is  our  knowledge  merely 
a  knowledge  of  the  dead,  of  the  dead  around  us 
and  behind  usf  Is  it  not  a  knowledge  of  life 
alone  ?  .  . ,. 

These  were  the  questions  to  which  his  new 
studies  led  our  young  friend;  a  presentiment  arose 
in  him  that  he  would  be  one  of  the  first  to  fix  the 
science  of  life.  His  friends  were  astonished  by  his 
affirming  once  in  this  sense  that  they  who  were 
aroused  to  real  and  conscious  life  must  draw  every- 

214  SPINOZA. 

thing  from  the  living  principle  within  them  and 
around  them,  and  that  therein  lay  the  meaning  of 
the  enigmatical  expression  of  Christ  (Mat.  viii.  22), 
"  Let  the  dead  bury  their  dead."  In  thought  and 
expression  the  expositions  of  Spinoza  had  some- 
thing sacred  and  biblical,  and  this  is  exactly  the 
spirit  which,  penetrates  to  the  origin  of  all  life;  the 
eternal  word  is  his  also,  if  even  it  arises  in  a  new 
form  and  with  a  partially  new  signification.  Olden- 
burg, as  well  as  Meyer,  was  often  surprised  at 
Spinoza's  "philosophical  naivete,"  as  the  former 
called  it,  while  Meyer  designated  it  "  an  intellectu- 
ally clean  tongue."  There  seemed  to  be  a  contra- 
diction in  speaking  of  "  philosophical  naivete,"  and 
yet  this  formed  the  original  foundation  of  free 
thought  as  defined  by  Spinoza.  In  nothing  could 
he  accept  the  ordinary  or  traditional  point  of  view; 
his  individual  perceptions  remained  uninfluenced 
by  the  doctrines  set  before  him.  He  grasped  the 
things  of  the  material  as  well  as  the  ideal  world  in 
a  wholly  original  and  unbiassed  manner  as  though 
they  were  originated  in  him;  as  if  he  were  the  first 
to  comprehend  this  given  external  world  as  well  as 
the  inner  life  of  intellect. 

S^"^^    OF   TUE  '^ 




SPINOZA  and  Oldenburg  stood  laughing  at 
Meyer,  who  was  playing  with  a  ridiculously 
impish  figure  of  glass  in  a  long  phial;  it  jumped 
up  and  down,  and  twisted  about,  as  Meyer  pressed 
the  india-rubber  stopper  and  declaimed  magic  in- 
cantations. He  soon,  however,  ended  the  jest  by 

"Is  philosophy  from  beginning  to  end  anything 
more  than  this  hollow  imprisoned  idea,  the  glass 
imp  in  the  phial  ?"  No  one  answered,  and  he  con- 
tinued, addressing  Spinoza  in  particular:  "What 
do  you  think  of  Descartes'  imp?  Two  thousand 
years  ago  the  creator  of  such  a  wonder  might  have 
been  the  founder  of  a  religion;  his  praise  would 
have  been  chanted  in  hymns  to  the  furthest  corners 
of  the  earth,  and  all  mankind  would  have  entreated 
his  aid." 

"That  is  very  doubtful,"  was  the  reply.  "With- 
out some  new  world-stirring  idea  no  mere  worker  of 
miracles  has  made  his  name  immortal.  Descartes* 
imp  is  nothing  to  the  miracles  the  Jewish  Cabbalists 
are  said  to  have  performed." 

2l6  SPINOZA. 

"Tell  us  them,"  said  Meyer,  while  Oldenburg 
made  a  wry  face  as  Spinoza  began: 

"  In  my  father's  house  we  have  an  old  servant 
named  Chaje.  She  is  German,  and  is  full  of  the 
legends  and  superstitions  of  the  German  Jews.  She 
once  explained  to  me  why  at  Prague  on  Friday 
evening  they  sing  the  hymn  twice  over  by  which 
Israel  is  united  in  mystic  bonds  of  matrimony  to 
the  Sabbath.  Once  upon  a  time  a  great  Cabbalist 
lived  in  Prague,  called  the  Rabbi  Low.  He  made  a 
human  figure  of  clay,  and  left  a  small  aperture  in 
the  lesser  brain  in  which  he  laid  a  parchment  with 
the  unutterable  name  of  God  written  on  it.  The 
clod  immediately  arose  and  was  a  man;  he  per- 
formed all  the  duties  of  a  servant  for  his  creator, 
he  fetched  water,  and  hewed  wood.  All  through 
the  Jews'  quarter  he  was  known  as  the  Golem  of 
the  great  Rabbi  Low.  Every  Friday  evening  the 
Rabbi  took  the  parchment  out  of  his  head,  and  he 
was  clay  until  Sunday  morning.  Once  the  Rabbi 
forgot  this  duty.  All  were  in  the  synagogue,  the 
Sabbath  hymn  was  begun,  when  all  the  women  and 
children  in  the  assembly  started  and  screamed  out, 
'  The  Golem  !  the  Golem  is  destroying  everything  ! ' 
The  Rabbi  ordered  the  precentor  to  pause  at  the 
end  of  the  prayer.  It  was  yet  possible  to  save  all, 
but  later  naught  would  avail,  the  whole  world 
would  be  destroyed.  He  hastened  home,  and  saw 
the  Golem  already  seizing  the  joists  of  his  house 


to  tear  down  the  building;  he  sprang  forward,  took 
the  parchment  out,  and  dead  clay  again  lay  at  his 
feet.  From  that  day  they  sang  the  Sabbath  bridal 
song  twice  over  in  Prague.  The  great  Rabbi  Low 
certainly  never  thought  of  Descartes,  and  yet  his 
Golem  had  as  much  life  as  any  man,  if  we  are  to 
accept  the  new  view,  that  the  union  between  soul 
and  body  is  so  slight  that  at  any  moment  it  can  be 
disjoined,  and  again  reunited." 

Meyer  did  not  seem  to  notice  the  argumentative 
conclusion,  for  he  said: 

**When  I  publish  my  correspondence  between 
Adam  and  Eve,  your  Golem  shall  have  an  honorable 
position  therein." 

With  evident  displeasure  Oldenburg  turned  to 

"Meyer  is  perpetually  hunting  after  strange 
stories,  which  he  arranges  and  classifies  like  his 
beetles  and  butterflies.  To  my  taste  your  legend 
savors  of  Jewish  spleen.  To  let  a  destroyer  of  the 
world,  the  creation  of  a  Cabbalist,  loose  on  the 
Jews'  quarter  !  If,  after  the  free  manner  of  the 
popular  legends,  he  had  a  love  affair  with  a  maiden, 
who  every  Sabbath  awaited  him  in  vain,  or  had  he 
been  a  grand  vizier,  or  advanced  to  be  some  other 
great  minister,  whom  his  master  could  reduce  to 
dust,  and  raise  again  at  will,  there  would  at  least 
be  either  poetry  or  satire  in  the  thing;  as  it  is 
the   Golem   of    our  lord  and   master   pleases  me 

2l8  SPINOZA. 

much  better.  Look,  his  bows  are  so  graceful  that 
no  dame  of  the  court  of  Louis  XIV.  could  excel 

"  Lord  and  master!"  replied  Spinoza;  "that  is  too 
strong.    I  am  neither  his  servant  nor  his  pupil." 

"  What  do  I  hear  ?"  asked  Meyer  in  astonishment. 
"  How  long  is  it  since  you  began  to  study  his  system 
with  me,  and  you  already  go  beyond  him,  while  I 
am  only  glad  if  I  can  understand  him  ?" 

"  I  fear  for  our  friendship,"  interrupted  Olden- 
burg. "  You  have  so  often  said  that  a  similarity  of 
intellectual  power  must  exist  between  friends,  and 
I  have  never  once  been  able  to  grasp  the  system. 
It  was  principally  the  astonishing  externals  that 
attracted  me  first  to  the  new  teaching  of  Descartes; 
I  investigated  the  entrails  of  a  calf  with  him  will- 
ingly; he  called  it  his  library,  and  found  surprising 
evidences  therein;  but  to  the  vital  principle  of  his 
philosophical  system  I  never  could  attain.  I  bolted 
my  door,  I  curtained  my  window,  I  sat  down  in  a 
corner  alone,  and  concentrated  my  mind  on  the 
book;  for  two  or  three  sentences,  for  half  an  hour, 
even  an  hour,  I  followed  him  completely;  then  arose, 
without  my  knowing  it,  some  strange  thought  be- 
tween the  lines:  a  former  experience,  a  wish,  above 
all,  the  memory  of  a  girl  whom  I  once  fervently 
loved,  intervened  between  the  propositions,  axioms, 
corollaries,  and  I  saw  at  last  that  I  wished  to  pene- 
trate to  the  foundation  of    things,  and  yet  could 



not  distract  myself  from  every-day  life.  I  laid  the 
book  down  and  took  another,  or  went  out  and 
dissipated  my  vexation  and  my  cares." 

"  How  is  it  then  that  you  pass  for  so  enthusiastic 
a  disciple  of  Descartes,  and  sometimes  are  really 
such  ?" 

"  I  must  go  rather  far  back  for  that.  In  the  first 
place  I  am  mostly  a  Cartesian,  because  I  have  gone 
through  much  the  same  career  of  doubt  as  the 
founder  of  the  school.  My  father  was  pastor  of  the 
place  where  I  was  born;  from  childhood  I  sat  in  his 
library  and  read  everything.  Witch  legends,  his- 
tory, anatomy,  alchemy  and  theology,  all  came 
alike  to  me  if  I  had  something  to  read.  When  I 
was  older,  this  miscellaneous  knowledge  mixed  and 
fermented  in  my  brain;  religious  doubts  intervened; 
in  nothing  and  in  no  occupation  could  I  find  any 
real  pleasure.  After  my  father's  death,  to  the 
great  scandal  of  the  worthy  citizens  of  my  native 
town,  I  led  a  somewhat  loose  life,  but  that  did  not 
amuse  me  long.  I  tied  up  my  bundle  and  followed 
the  banners  of  Gustavus  Adolphus  as  a  volunteer.  I 
was  employed  as  commissioner  to  raise  the  contribu- 
tions demanded  by  the  Swedish  host  from  my  native 
town,  and  so  gained  considerable  importance  among 
my  fellow  citizens.  The  trade  of  war,  for  it  was 
nothing  more,  soon  wearied  me.  In  camp  and  on 
the  march  doubts  of  all  the  faiths,  for  whose  differ- 
ences men  fought  so  bloodily,  overtook  me.    It  was 

220  SPINOZA.  ^ 

continual  murder  for  no  one  knows  what.  The  most 
superstitious  of  all  popular  ideas,  that  of  bravery, 
alone  made  its  value  felt  on  its  own  merits.  As 
Hugo  Grotius  says,  towns  and  countries  became  as 
corpses,  that  men  might  no  longer  grieve  for  the 
fate  of  individuals.  I  long  doubted  whether  I  did 
right  or  not;  a  trivial  circumstance  at  last  decided 
me.  I  took  my  leave  and  went  to  the  University 
of  Utrecht.  The  students  and  professors  there  were 
divided  into  two  parties;  you  can  imagine  that  I 
did  not  hesitate  long  in  ranking  myself  against  the 
pious  pastor,  Gisbert  Votius,  and  on  the  side  of 
Regius.  He  taught  the  new  philosophy  of  Descartes. 
I  was  then  twenty-one  years  of  age,  full  of  arrogance 
and  restless  energy,  and  as  I  had  made  something 
of  a  name  as  a  swordsman  I  soon  won  a  certain 
amount  of  authority  among  the  students." 

"Yes,  I  can  assure  you,"  interrupted  Meyer,  "I 
have  faithfully  seconded  Oldenburg  when  he  en- 
forced the  belief  on  the  Vötiusians  that  they  were 
predestined  to  have  circumflex  accents  and  all  other 
marks  of  Cain  written  on  their  brows  by  us." 

"  What  a  much  more  active  youth  you  had  than 
I,"  sighed  Spinoza. 

"That  is  the  question,"  answered  Meyer,  and 
Oldenburg  resumed  his  narration. 

"As  Regius  became  more  and  more  bitterly  per- 
secuted by  Votius  the  father  and  son,  without  the 
spirit,  we  went  one  evening  to  the  house  of  his  Ex- 


cellency  and  set  up  some  cat's  music  there.  I  was 
expelled  as  a  ringleader;  Meyer  slipped  through 
with  a  whole  head;  so  I  was  a  martyr  for  a  doctrine 
which,  as  I  saw  later,  Regius  himself  did  not  rightly 
understand.  I  wandered  about  Holland  and  stayed 
for  some  months  with  Descartes  himself.  I  know 
nearly  every  sentence  of  his  doctrine,  but  I  never 
could  acquire  the  penetrative  conternplativeness 
necessary  to  follow  this  germ  through  all  its  trellis 
work  of  development  to  the  lattice  of  mathemati- 
cal certainty." 

"It  is  often  so  with  me  too,"  said  Meyer;  "I  re- 
turned from  my  philosophical  pilgrimage,  on  which 
I  would  conquer  the  Holy  Sepulchre,  wrong-side 
up,  or,  as  our  proverb  says,  'feet  foremost.'  " 

"  Oldenburg  has  described  the  struggle  better 
as  one  for  contemplative  power,"  replied  Spinoza. 
"Look  around;  here,  there  and  everywhere  you 
see  illusion  and  error.  What  assurance  have  you 
that  all  you  see,  all  you  know  by  experience,  and 
feel  in  your  heart  is  aught  else  than  illusion  and 
deception  ?  What  is  so  firmly  and  deeply  founded 
that  it  cannot  be  torn  up  by  doubts  ?  So  you  close 
your  eyes,  cut  loose  from  all  your  surroundings,  and 
then,  thus  isolated,  the  whole  visible  world  is  cast 
into  nonentity;  you  yourself  perhaps  a  nonentity 
too  ?  How  do  you  know  that  you  really  exist  ? 
Here  you  are  at  the  end  of  doubt,  and  here  a  still, 
small  voice  cries  to  you,  'I,  I  am,  for  I  think,  I 

222  SPINOZA. 

doubt  my  being;  I,  the  thought,  the  doubt  within 
me,  I  exist,  even  if  all  around  me  disappe'ar  in 
illusion  and  shadow.'  Begin  with  doubt  and  you 
can  stop  at  no  arbitrary  resting-place.  Why  doubt 
only  the  higher  spiritual  things  ?  Has  the  physical 
world  greater  certainty  because  it  is  apparent  to 
the  senses  ?  Are  the  deceptions  of  our  senses  more 
numerous  than  the  illusions  of  our  hearts  and  im- 
aginations ?  Can  you  not  imagine  yourself  a  purely 
spiritual  being.  Can  you  not  lay  aside  as  prejudice 
all  that  hitherto  appeared  certainty,  for  example,  the 
existence  of  your  body  ?  If  not,  you  will  strive  in 
vain  after  incontrovertible  truth.  Can  you  do  it, 
however.  Then,  if  you  have  penetrated  the  central 
point  of  your  self-consciousness,  then  forward ! 
Open  your  eyes;  let  everything  come  before  them 
that  was  hitherto  confined  to  your  thoughts;  let 
nothing  remain  unexamined.  You  have  a  measure 
of  the  truth  and  existence  of  everything:  what 
seems  to  you  as  incontrovertible  as  your  knowledge 
of  your  own  self, that  alone  is  truth." 

"  I  understand  you,"  said  Meyer.  "  You  arrive  at 
the  fundamental  axiom  of  the  ancients,  '  Man  is  the 
measure  of  all  things.'  The  inner  man  as  well  as 
the  outer  man  is  a  foot-rule,  as  we  place  the  figures 
of  men  in  pictures  to  show  dimensions  by  contrast. 
Man  is  the  ideal,  universally  accepted  yard  measure 
for  the  world." 

"But  if  any  spoke  with  further  skepticism,"  inter- 


rupted  Oldenburg.  "  I  have  no  perfect  assurance 
of  that  fundamental  truth  which  should  serve  me 
as  a  rule,  and  I  stilV  do  not  know  whether  any  inner 
intelligence  dwells  in  me  or  not  ?" 

"  Either  such  an  one  would  speak  against  his  own 
consciousness,  or  we  must  believe  that  there  are 
men  who,  by  birth  or  prejudice,  that  is,  through 
outward  circumstances,  are  spiritually  blind.  For 
such  do  not  think  about  themselves;  whether  they 
agree  with  or  doubt  anything,  they  do  not  know 
what  they  do;  they  say  they  do  not  know,  and  then 
even  do  not  know  that  they  do  not  know.  They  do 
not  say  it  absolutely,  for  they  are  afraid  to  recognize 
their  existence  as  know-nothings,  so  they  must  re- 
main silent  if  they  will  not  recognize  anything  that 
yet  comprises  a  truth.  In  short,  with  such  it  is  im- 
possible to  speak  of  knowledge,  for  in  daily  life  and 
intercourse  they  are  obliged  to  recognize  of  neces- 
sity that  they  exist,  that  they  use  their  judgment, 
and  witness  on  oath  in  favor  of  one  and  against 
another.  But  if  anything  is  proved  to  them,  they 
do  not  know  whether  the  proof  is  there;  deny, 
agree  with,  or  dispute,  they  know  naught  of  it;  they 
are  soulless  automatons.  For  reasonable  men,  how- 
ever, proof  lies  in  the  spiritual  eyes.  We  can  see 
the  unseen  things,  which  are  but  the  objects  of 
our  thoughts,  with  no  other  eyes  than  with  these 

"  You   are  becoming    quite    enthusiastic,"   said 

224  SPINOZA. 

Meyer,  "  Lucian  disposed  of  the  whole  in  a  jest  by 
making  a  radical  doubter  be  sold  as  a  slave,  and 
still  doubt  under  the  lash  of  slavery." 

*'  But  what  does  Descartes  mean,"  asked  Olden- 
burg, "  by  his  unprofitable  dicing  with  quadrangles, 
triangles,  and  the  devil  knows  what  angles  ?" 

"  Mathematical  proof,"  answered  Meyer, '''  is  alone 
admissible.  The  definitions  are  the  exact  represen- 
tations of  an  object  described  with  its  name  and 
attributes;  the  postulates  and  axioms  by  which  the 
proposition  is  proved  are  such  truisms  that  whoever 
knows  the  alphabet  must  see  them." 

"You  must  come  yet  nearer,  and  be  yet  more 
definite,"  interposed  Spinoza.  "  Definitions  merely 
affirm  the  essence  of  a  thing;  attributes  cannot  be 
learned  by  definitions,  they  must  be  learned  by  ex- 
perience. By  mathematical  laws  alone  can  we  under- 
stand and  follow  up  all  things,  all  processes  of  both 
the  external  and  internal  world.  Everything  is 
the  necessary  and  inevitable  result  of  its  primal 
cause.  Mathematical  truths  alone  have  the  same 
inherent  necessity  and  external  evidence  as  our 
consciousness  of  ourselves.  By  the  same  means 
that  I  know  certainly  that  I  am,  I  also  know  that 
the  three  angles  of  a  triangle  are  equal  to  two  right 
angles.  The  intricacies  of  higher  mathematical 
problems  make  no  difference,  for  they  all  rest  on 
the  same  simple  and  incontrovertible  principles, 
and  every  link  of  their  necessary  progress  is  as  in- 


controvertible  as  the  principle  itself.  A  number, 
as  such,  is  the  earliest  definite  idea;  it  is  without 
regard  to  the  characteristics  of  things,  and  merely, 
includes  their  existence.  Apples,  trees,  men  and 
beasts  are  all  included.  Larger  growth  does  not 
increase  the  number,  but  draws  from  the  first  ab- 
stract idea  a  second,  and  letters  are  set  in  the  place 
of  numbers.  The  individual  objects  now  lie  far 
apart,  but  at  all  times  we  must  be  prepared  to  re- 
trace their  origin.  To  the  building  up  of  the  whole 
intelligence,  however,  this  would  be  a  hindrance; 
here  we  have  only  to  deal  with  pure  thought — " 

"  And  he  who  gets  dizzy  over  it  let  him  remain 
on  the  ground,"  jestingly  interrupted  Meyer.  And 
Oldenburg  inquired: 

"  Do  you  believe  in  the  possibility  of  mathemati- 
cal psychology  ?" 

"  Call  it  so  if  you  like,"  continued  Spinoza;  "  the 
conditions  and  laws  of  action  of  our  intelligence 
and  sensations  have  as  definite  rules  as  anything 
in  nature;  they  are  as  ascertainable,  they  must  be 
so;  all  that  prevents  us  from  being  so  to  ourselves 

"And  custom  and  passion  put  a  stroke  through 
the  calculation,"  interposed  Meyer.  "In  you  Des- 
cartes  is  a  second  time  Renatus.*     If  the  master 

*  Descartes'  Christian  name  was  Renatus,  and  this  pun  is  in 
a  poem  prefixed  to  the  first  work  of  Spinoza,  which  was  edited 
and  prefaced  by  Ludwig  Meyer. 

220  SPINOZA. 

called  the  inside  of  a  calf  his  library,  you  have  a 
much  better.  You  have  learned  the  weapons  of  both 
sides  in  the  enemy's  camp.  The  Jesuit  school  edu- 
cated and  inspired  Descartes — the  Talmud  school 
you.  What  wonderful  ways  hath  history  !  But 
you  will  go  further  yet.  I  see  you  with  a  broom 
at  the  mast-head,  like  our  Admiral  Tromp,  sailing 
the  ocean,  as  a  sign  that  you  have  cleared  the  ele- 
ments of  life  of  arbitrary  prejudices." 

Spinoza  entered  into  the  jesting  humor  of  his 
friend,  only  so  far  pursuing  his  object  as  to  explain 
that  even  this  stroke  through  the  calculation  must 
be  an  effect  of  the  same  cause;  that  the  passions 
must  not  be  regarded  as  exceptional,  but  recog- 
nized as  natural  laws.  Meyer  tried  in  all  ways  to 
analyze  Spinoza's  intellectual  method,  and  bent  on 
this  study  he  came  again  to  talk  with  him. 

"  I  have  been  thinking,"  he  said  to  him  one  day, 
"of  what  you  once  said  to  me  about  the  study  of 
the  Talmud,  and  think  I  understand  how  it  is  that 
you  Jews  can  clamber  up  and  down  such  intellect- 
ual ladders;  if  you  jump  over  two  or  three  rounds 
you  do  not  miss  your  footipg.  It  all  comes  by 
studying  the  Talmud,  which  accustoms  you  so 
early  to  free  intellectual  gymnastics.  We,  how- 
ever— I  can  only  use  myself  for  an  example — we 
were  very  differently  trained.  If  one  of  us  bring  a 
thought  into  the  world  the  midwives  of  the  cate- 
chism come,  and  in  accordance  with  immemorial 




custom  and  manipulation,  the  embryo  is  brought 
to  light,  then  it  is  wrapped  in  cotton-wool  and  tied 
into  a  pillow  that  it  may  not  freeze,  and  when  it  is 
older  goes  in  leading  strings." 

"  I  know  your  methods  of  education  too  little," 
replied  Spinoza,  ''  and  so  cannot  rightly  understand 
how  a  religion  with  a  dogmatic-historic  basis  can 
be  developed  in  a  Socratic  manner;  but  what 
you  say  of  the  Jews  may  be  true  enough.  It  has 
often  happened  that,  like  David,  they  have  over- 
thrown a  champion  well  armed  and  practised  in 
rules  of  fence  with  a  well-directed  pebble;  but  this 
want  of  discipline  destroys  all  true,  well-founded 
learning  among  the  Jews.  My  endeavor  is  to  with- 
draw myself  from  that  vagabond  intellectual  life, 
and  follow  the  progress  of  a  study  from  point  to 
point.     Herein  Descartes  is  my  surest  leader." 

How  wonderful  it  is  that  the  thousand  buds  on 
a  tree  open  at  once  !  They  are  but  one  flower-cup, 
and  the  innumerable  trees  but  one  blooming  tree, 
but  to  the  eyes  of  men  they  are  thousands.  So 
bloom  the  flowers  in  the  heart  of  man.  It  is  but 
one  force  that  awakens  our  intelligence,  will,  be- 
nevolence and  love;  we,  however,  can  only  see 
them  individually. 

The  kingdom  of  knowledge  and  the  joys  of 
friendship  awoke  in  Spinoza  together;  indeed,  they' 
were  but  one;  for  knowledge  is  the  joyful  recogni- 
tion of  external  laws,  the  endeavor  after,  and  con- 

228  SPINOZA. 

sciousness  of  agreement  with  them;' and  friendship 
is  the  living  practice  of  them  in  more  defined  form, 
impelling  us  by  the  same  forces. 

Yet  a  third  powerful  influence  worked   on  Spi- 
noza which  he  dared  not  name  to  himself. 


THE    NEW    ALLY. 

OLYMPIA  sat  at  the  window  and  looked  in  the 
window  seat  mirror,  the  so-called  "  spy,"  a 
standing  evidence  of  Dutch  love  of  comfort  and 
sight-seeing.  A  young  man  stood  by  the  lady.  He 
was  of  middle  height;  his  oval  face,  when  seen  in 
profile,  might  have  been  called  handsome;  it  had 
some  resemblance  to  Olympia's,  but  there  was 
none  of  the  restless  fire  in  his  glance  that  shone 
from  Olympia's  eyes.  His  left  hand  rested  on  the 
gilt  handle  of  his  rapier,  and  with  his  right  he 
stroked  his  blonde  whiskers.  Every  now  and  then  he 
screwed  up  his  eyes  and  looked  out  of  the  corners 
at  every  point  in  his  costume.  It  was  all  faultless: 
the  white  cravat  was  in  its  proper  position,  the 
black  mantle  of  finest  Venetian  velvet  fell  in  ma- 
jestic folds,  and  the  tassel  of  gold  thread  hung 
gracefully  on  his  breast,  the  quilted  satin  breeches 
were  tied  ornamentally  at  the  knees,  the  silk  stock- 
ings, and  shoes  with  gold  buckles,  all  were  irre- 
proachable. *'  Look  there,"  said  Olympia,  and  the 
well-dressed  individual  looked  at  her  amiably;  "  do 
you  see  that  young  man  who  is  coming  so  thought- 
fully down  the  street  ?" 

230  SPINOZA, 

The  person  addressed  quickly  drew  a  red  mo- 
rocco case  from  his  pocket,  and  took  a  jewelled 
opera-glass  from  it. 

"  Do  you  mean  that  one  ?"  he  then  said.  "  He  is 
of  middle  height  and  brown  complexion;  is  he  not 
a  Jew  ?" 

"Whatever  he  is,"  replied  Olympia,  "he  comes 
of  an  honorable  Spanish  family.  My  father  re- 
spects him  highly,  and  I — I  consider  him  one  of 
my  dearest  friends.  Just  because  he  was  born  a 
Jew,  whom  the  whole  world  is  against,  he  has 
attained  to  an  unprejudiced  conscientiousness  of 
judgment,  an  unswerving  rectitude,  which  com- 
mand our  regard,  and  often  put  us  to  shame." 

"  But  what  do  you  say  to  my  physiognomical 
guess  ?"  continued  the  stranger  as  he  curled  his 
moustache  round  his  first  finger,  and  let  his  glance 
wander  complacently  to  the  window-glass  in  which 
he  saw  himself  reflected.  "  I  too  find  the  Jews 
very  interesting;  they  are  a  sort  of  historical  relic, 
and  I  have  to  thank  you  for  my  taste  for  history. 
I  look  upon  the  Jews  as  a  fragment  of  some  Asiatic 
root  which  we  can  study  in  this  strange  form." 

"  Had  you  much  intercourse  with  Jews  in  Ham- 
burg ?"  inquired  Olympia. 

"You  jest,"  was  the  reply,  "but  I  know  the  Jews 
thoroughly.  En  detail,  there  may  be  many  honor- 
able men  among  them.  In  my  native  town  there 
was  an  old  rogue  to  whom  I  used  to  sell  my  old 

THE  NEW  ALLY.  231 

Clothes.  I  had  many  a  joke  with  him;  he  took 
everything  in  good  part  if  he  could  make  a  good 
bargain;  covetous  as  he  was,  I  have  still  seen  sev- 
eral instances  of  his  uprightness;  but  looked  at  en 
gros  all  Jews  are  pickpockets;  a  dirty,  disgusting 
lot,  who,  alas  !  my  father  has  often  said,  will  soon 
have  all  the  trade  of  our  town  to  themselves.  Only 
think  !  I  had  a  friend  staying  with  me  once  who 
actually  condescended  to  a  noble  passion  for  a 
Jewess,  so  much  so,  indeed,  that  he  actually  thought 
of  uniting  himself  to  his  Rachel.  I  cannot  yet 
understand  how  a  man  of  honorable  family  could 
bear  to  have  a  dirty  Jew  for  a  brother-in-law  smell- 
ing of  leeks.  But  the  maiden  appears  to  have  been 
educated  above  her  greasy  locked  compatriots. 
One  morning  my  friend  was  in  Cuxhaven  when 
they  were  dragging  a  corpse  out  of  the  water.  He 
recognized  it  as  Rachel.  We  had  to  hold  him  to 
prevent  him  from  doing  himself  a  mischief.  I  was 
right  sorry  for  my  friend's  trouble.  He  swore  hard 
and  fast  that  he  would  never  belong  to  another, 
but  one  knows  what  those  vows  are.  He  recovered 
sooner  than  we  expected,  and  in  a  year  he  was 
the  happy  spouse  of  a  town  councillor's  daughter. 
When  we  remind  him  of  his  earlier  passion  he 
only  laughs  quietly.  Surely  Jufrow  Olympia  either 
jests  or  plays  with  paradoxes  when  she  honors  a 
Jew  with  the  enviable  title  of  her  best  friend." 
During  this  discourse  Olympia  had  placed  her- 

232  SPINOZA. 

self  at  the  organ  and  lightly  played  a  prelude.  She 
looked  quietly  at  the  stranger,  who  emphasized  his 
words  and  beat  time  with  his  thumb  and  finger, 
which  he  had  passed  through  a  ring. 

"You  have  gained  much  experience  of  life,"  she 
said  at  last,  ''but  you  forget  that  you  are  in  Hol- 
land, where  religions  are  not  divided  into  dominant 
and  subordinate.  I  believe  Amsterdam  is  the  only 
town  in  the  world  which  has  carried  toleration  so 
far  that  Christians  have  been  converted  to  Judaism. 
You  must  be  acquainted  with  de  Spinoza;  believe 
me,  he  is  a  remarkable  man.  You  are  not  ill- 
natured;  be  friendly  with  him  for  my  sake.  But 
hush  !  here  he  comes." 

Spinoza  entered. 

"  Here  is  Herr  Kerkering  at  last,"  said  Olympia, 
*'of  whom  I  have  often  spoken  to  you  as  my  pupil 
of  years  ago,  and  who  was  prevented  from  return- 
ing to  us  by  his  father's  death." 

"You  will  assuredly  approve  of  my  resolution, 
Herr  de  Spinoza,"  interrupted  Kerkering,  "to  re- 
turn again  to  Jufrow  Olympia,  and  hear  the  wis- 
dom of  the  ancients  from  her  honeyed  lips." 

"A  questionable  compliment,"  replied  Olympia; 
"  you  say  I  have  yellow  lips,  and  remind  me  of  my 
age."  Kerkering  protested.  Spinoza  helped  him 
out  by  saying: 

"  You  have  probably  forgotten,  Herr  Kerkering, 
that    Jufrow    Olympia    demands,  like  the  highest 



Being,  that  we  should  make  no  image  of  her  of 
things  heavenly  or  earthly." 

"  O  you  heretic!"  said  Olympia,  and  her  flash- 
ing eyes  seemed  indeed  capable  of  an  auto-da-fe. 
"You  will  surely  permit  Herr  Kerkering,"  she 
continued  after  a  pause,  "  to  join  our  Latin  con- 
versations.    I  cannot  call  them  lessons  now." 

Spinoza  agreed,  and  while  he  was  speaking 
Oldenburg  entered.  He  looked  Kerkering  over,  as 
Olympia  introduced  him,  with  a  rapid  glance. 

"I  thought  I  should  meet  thee  here,"  he  said 
turning  to  Spinoza,  "  and  so  spared  myself  the 
journey  to  thy  house." 

"Thou?"  said  Olympia.  "Oh,  the  cordial  thou! 
how  lucky  men  are  that  they  can  address  their 
friends  so  when  they  please  without  hesitation. 
The  Romans  little  knew  their  good  fortune  in  ad- 
dressing each  other  as  thou.  I  am  proud  that  you 
two  are  already  so  intimate,  as  I  was  the  means  of 

"If  two  quantities  are  equal  to  a  third  then  the 
three  are  equal,"  jested  Spinoza. 

"And  not  a  fourth  also?"  inquired  Olympia. 
"We  are  here  the  representatives  of  four  great 
powers;  we  will  conclude  a  quadruple  alliance. 
You  must  represent  Moses,  Herr  von  Spinoza;  you 
Calvin,  Herr  Oldenburg;  Herr  Kerkering,  you  must 
stand  up  for  your  Luther,  and  I — I  will  represent 
the  Pope;  he  cannot  object,  for  I  am  called  Olympia 

234  SPINOZA. 

Maria  Honoria.  Herr  Kerkering,  give  the  two 
gentlemen  your  hands.  We  have  long  been  allies; 
we  four  will  represent  the  circle  which  includes 
and  reconciles  all  religious  differences." 

"  I  am  afraid  that  is  the  reverse  problem  of  the 
squaring  of  the  circle,"  said  Oldenburg  as  he  joined 
them,  and  added,  "  You  go  even  further  than  Hugo 
Grotius,  who  also  dreamed  of  an  eternal  Peace  of 
the  Religions,  but  forgot  the  Jews  in  his  projected 

Olympia  took  Kerkering's  hands  and  placed 
them  in  the  hands  of  the  two  friends. 

"  Always  extravagant  and  arbitrary  !"  said  Olden- 
burg to  Spinoza,  as  they  went  away.  *' Women 
never  can  resist  match-making;  if  they  are  mar- 
ried, they  try  to  find  similar  good  fortune  for 
others;  if  they  have  one  friend,  another  must  be  his 
friend  also,  even  if  by  force.  What  has  this  Ker- 
kering, whom  she  treats  like  an  automaton,  to  do 
with  us  ?" 

"  You  should  not  be  so  discontented  with  such 
alliances,"  replied  Spinoza;  "  it  is  another  example 
for  your  lord  and  master,  Descartes.  Without  the 
perpetual  external  interference  of  a  higher  third 
element  no  real  existence  can  be  imagined;  all 
would  fall  to  pieces." 

Chapter  xiv. 


WHILE  Spinoza  was  absorbed  in  consideration 
of  the  actual  existence  of  things,  the  inherent 
cause  of  their  existence,  their  necessary  and  acci- 
dental destinies,  and  the  appropriate  mathematical 
demonstrations  of  Descartes,  his  father  had  also 
been  considering  the  sufficient  cause  of  actual  ex- 
istence, and  his  demonstrations  were  not  less 
founded  on  ciphers  and  numbers  than  the  philoso- 

"  Are  you  still  resolved  not  to  be  a  Rabbi  ?"  he 
said  one  day  to  his  son.  "Have  you  thought  over 
all  the  consequences  to  both  you  and  me  ?  I,  alas  ! 
see  my  greatest  joy  sink  before  me  into  the  grave." 

"  In  the  sayings  of  the  Fathers  it  is  written,"  an- 
swered Baruch  in  a  low  voice,  "  that  Rabbi  Zadok 
said,  *  Make  not  a  crown  of  glory  of  thy  knowledge 
of  the  sacred  law  to  pride  thyself  thereon,  neither 
make  a  spade  thereof  wherewith  to  dig.'  It  always 
goes  ill  with  a  religion  if  its  expounders  earn 
wages  thereby." 

"Good,  I  am  of  Rabbi  Zadok's  opinion;  but 
what  if  a  man  hath  no  other  spade  ?  Listen  to  me; 
I  will  be  open  with  you.    Our  Miriam  is  now  the 



betrothed  of  Samuel  Casseres;  he  wishes,  with  Re- 
becca's husband,  to  enlarge  the  diamond  mill;  he  has 
fresh  secrets.  My  daughters  are  now,  with  God's 
help,  taken  care  of;  you  alone  remain.  Should  I 
have  concealments  from  you?  My  lawsuit  is  going 
against  me,  and  what  I  have  to  leave  you  at  my 
death  is  so  little  that  you  could  not  live  on  it. 
May  God  preserve  my  children  and  my  children's 
children  from  saying  with  sorrow^  in  their  daily 
prayers,  '  Lord,  let  us  not  be  bounden  to  them  of 
flesh  and  blood  for  alms  ! '  So  tell  me  what  is  to 
be  done?" 

"Must  I  go  into  trade?" 

"No,  I  should  never  agree  to  that;  from  child- 
hood up  you  have  had  no  inclination  for  trade. 
Now,  indeed,  there  are  new  channels  for  com- 
merce, and  we  need  not  be  so  confined  as  we 
are  in  Holland  here,  where  each  one  snaps  the  op- 
portunity from  before  the  other's  face.  There  is 
no  use  in  going  to  Batavia,  for  it  goes  so  ill  with 
those  that'are  there  that  many  wish  to  return;  but 
there  is  a  report  that  Rabbi  Manasseh  Ben  Israel, 
who  is  treating  with  the  Lord  Protector,  may  prob- 
ably obtain  leave  for  the  Jews  to  go  to  England 

"I  heard  of  it,"  answered  Baruch.  "Rabbi  Ma- 
nasseh won  most  votes  by  saying  that  the  true 
coming  of  the  Messiah  could  not  be  until  the  ful- 
filment  of  the  prophecy  that  the  Jews  would  be 


scattered  through  all  lands.  It  was  a  sophistical 

"That  may  be,"  said  his  father,  "the  greater  pro- 
portion of  people  cannot  be  treated  any  other  way 
than  by  being  duped,  so  we  do  them  that  favor. 
But  that  is  not  what  concerns  us.  Consider  how 
you  are  to  ensure  a  livelihood  in  the  future." 

"  Rabbi  Gamaliel  teaches  that  '  Study  of  the  law 
united  with  a  trade  is  good;  diligence  in  both 
causes  us  to  forget  sin;  study  without  work  is  idle- 
ness, and  leads  to  sin.'  "  Baruch  then  gave  several 
examples  of  fathers  of  the  synagogue  who  were 
handicraftsmen,  and  concluded  with  the  words,  "  I 
should  like  to  learn  a  handicraft." 

"You  need  not  quote  the  Talmud  so  much  for 
it;  I  have  nothing  against  your  learning  an  honora- 
ble craft." 

Spinoza  was  glad  that  his  father  was  not  merely 
moved  by  his  examples  to  agree  to  his  purpose,  for 
he  had  in  a  measure  thereby  lent  himself  to  well- 
known  "pious deceptions."  He  was  firmly  resolved 
never  to  join  in  the  usual  routine,  and  sell  his 
knowledge  and  convictions  for  daily  bread.  If  he 
could  earn  his  livelihood  by  the  labor  of  his  hands, 
his  convictions  would  remain  free  from  the  neces- 
sities and  constraints  of  every-day  life.  Or  even 
to  minds  of  the  first  order  does  that  vague,  unsatis- 
fied longing  occur,  which  so  often  comes  over  us 
if  we  are  fated  always  and  always  to  drive  the  pen. 

238  SPINOZA, 

to  inspire  dead  words,  and  dig  out  and  chisel  new 
thoughts  and  feelings  ?  Do  they  feel  that  irresisti- 
ble need  for  physical  exercise  to  restore  the  over- 
strained nerve  power  ? 

Our  young  friend  found  plentiful  consideration 
in  the  decision  as  to  what  handicraft  he  would  de- 
vote himself  to.  He  now  remembered  how  often 
he  had  stood  near  the  diamond  mill,  and  watched 
the  horses  in  the  lower  story  as  they  turned  the 
wheel  that  set  in  motion  the  machinery  in  the  mill 
above.  The  polishing  and  cutting  of  diamonds  was 
the  secret  of  his  co-religionists,  an  attraction  for 
the  boy,  as  well  as  the  knowledge,  freely  entrusted 
to  him,  that  diamonds  could  only  be  cut  and  pol- 
ished with  diamond  dust.  How  often,  on  his  way 
to  the  Talmud  school,  or  Magister  Nigritius,  had  he 
stood  in  self-forgetfulness  at  the  open  doors  or 
windows  of  the  workshops  while  the  men  inside 
pursued  their  trade.  The  boy's  eyes  had  been  fas- 
cinated by  this  handicraft,  and  a  longing  for  simi- 
lar work  possessed  his  mind.  Now  for  the  first 
time  the  knowledge  flashed  upon  him  that  what  we 
call  a  free  decision  is  really  only  the  result  of  past 
influences,  often  generating  again  its  own  scarcely 
perceptible  results.  He  paused  but  little  to  consider 
this  fleeting  thought,  for  his  imagination  dwelt  on 
the  numerous  workshops  wherein  the  powers  of 
man  build  up  and  mould  the  results  of  nature  into 
new  shapes.      Only  he  who  reforms  and  controls 


the  materials  of  life  has  received  irue  life.  What  a 
thousandfold  blessing  lies  in  work  itself,  as  well 
as  in  its  results.  One  hand  clasps  the  other,  and 
one  thought  runs  into  another  in  the  imagination 
of  its  effects.  The  whole  activity  of  man  forms  one 
immense  fraternal  workshop.  Here,  too,  however, 
one  individual  has  forcibly  separated  from  another, 
and  as  the  churches  had  done  in  the  kingdom  of 
thought  and  feeling,  so  had  the  guilds  in  the  handi- 
crafts of  their  chosen  companies.  There  was  no 
legal  prohibition  excluding  the  Jews  from  any  trade, 
but  custom  and  convenience  made  the  guild-masters 
exclusive  and  reluctant. 

Again  it  was  Descartes  from  whom  Spinoza 
received  the  decisive  impulse  towards  his  object. 
Spinoza  was  studying  the  "  Dioptrika"  of  Des- 
cartes, and  there  learned  for  the  first  time  the  law 
of  refraction,  and  the  first  correct  explanation  of 
the  rainbow.  The  objection  raised  by  Huyghens, 
and  universally  shared,  that  Descartes  had  taken 
the  law  from  the  manuscript  of  Snellius,  then  widely 
circulated  through  Holland,  and  had  learned  the 
explanation  of  the  rainbow  from  Antonio  de  Dom- 
inis  and  Kepler,  without  acknowledging  either, 
all  this  appeared  trivial  to  our  young  inquirer;  but 
it  disturbed  him  to  think  that  deception  should  exist 
even  in  the  don^ain  of  intellect.  The  otherwise  en- 
igmatical saying  of  the  Talmud,  "  Whoever  reveals 
a  word  or  thought  in  the  name  of  its  author,  he 



brings  salvation  to  the  world,"  now  appeared  to 
him  a  law  of  truth. 

This  proceeding  of  Descartes,  if  inexcusable,  was 
still  explicable  in  that  he  was  accustomed  as  a 
courtier  to  find  himself  with  easy  adaptability 
among  the  strange  and  objective,  and  to  regard  it 
easily  as  his  own  and  subjective. 

It  was  with  pure  enthusiasm  that  the  determina- 
tion took  firm  hold  of  Spinoza  to  owe  his  livelihood 
solely  to  his  own  activity;  to  owe  it  to  no  inheri- 
tance, and  in  the  same  manner  to  find  the  truth  by 
his  own  intellect. 

One  day  Spinoza  explained  to  his  father  that  he 
wished  to  learn  the  art  of  making  optical  glasses. 

''But  that  is  a  trade  that  barely  feeds  a  man," 
replied  his  father;  "how  can  you  support  a  family 
on  it  ?  Or  do  you  intend  our  honorable  name  to 
die  out  with  you  ?" 

Spinoza  did  not  answer  this  remonstrance  imme- 
diately; perhaps  he  hoped  and  expected  to  perpet- 
uate the  name  in  another  manner.  He  had  touched 
a  painful  chord  in  his  father's  mind,  and  while 
explaining  his  inclination  for  independence  he  re- 
marked that  a  Rabbi,  by  his  salary  as  well  as  by 
grateful  offerings,  was  but  a  servant  of  individuals. 
Mingled  melancholy  and  pride  was  on  the  face  of 
the  fatheratthis  statement;  he  nodded  assentingly. 
The  old  Spaniard  recognized  in  his  son  the  same 
proud  spirit  which  was  not  yet  dead  in  himself.     If 



a  man  cannot  win  from  society  respect  and  power, 
it  is  as  well  to  avoid  it,  and  in  seclusion  lose  all 
care  for  it.  So  it  seemed  to  the  father;  and  again 
we  see  the  loosened  foundations  and  singular  mix- 
ture of  circumstances  that  awoke  the  powers  of 
Spinoza  to  their  full  bloom. 

"As  far  as  I  am  concerned,"  the  father  agreed 
at  last,  "  having  thought  over  all  the  trades,  I  can 
think  of  none  better  if  one  has  no  great  capital." 

Father  and  son  went  to  the  skilful  and  well- 
known  master.  Christian  Huyghens,  an  uncle  of  the 
mathematical  scholar  of  that  name,  but  who  seemed 
to  have  neither  the  poetical  genius  of  his  brother, 
nor  that  of  his  nephew. 

Spinoza  explained  to  the  master,  in  the  course  of 
conversation,  that  he  already  knew  the  laws  of 
optics,  and  had  also  considerable  acquaintance  with 
mathematics;  he  then  inquired  if  it  were  possible 
to  learn  the  handiwork  in  half  a  year.  The 
master,  who,  till  then,  had  listened  quietly  to  all 
remarks,  sprang  up  at  this  so  violently  that  his 
spectacles  dropped  from  his  nose. 

"  The  deuce  you  can  !  May  I  turn  Catholic,  what 
maggots  the  youth  of  this  day  have  In  their  heads  !" 
he  cried.  '*  I  have  been  seven  and  forty  years  in  the 
business,  and  I  may  say  I  understand  it,  and  can 
teach  it  to  others;  but  I  have  people  in  the  work- 
shop who  have  already  been  five  and  seven  years  at 
it,  and  if  I  lay  a  microscope  down  there  may  I  eat 



it  as  it  stands  if  any  one  of  them  can  put  it  together 
as  it  ought  to  be.  You  think  you  can  learn  every- 
thing out  of  books.  I  would  not  give  a  snap  for  all 
your  histories;  paper  is  patient,  and  lets  you  print 
what  you  like  on  it.  I  once  tried  to  make  a  micro- 
scope after  a  description  as  it  stood  in  the  book, 
but  it  was  good  for  nothing.  Whoever  is  not  in 
the  business  himself  will  never  know  as  long  as  he 
lives  how  to  bring  the  right  focus  into  the  gl'ass. 
Go  away  with  your  learned  disquisitions  !"  The 
master's  wife  came  in;  she  had  the  pincers  in  her 
hand,  and  flourished  the  instrument  violently. 

*'Yes,"  she  cried;  'Mf  they  could  only  learn  how 
in  a  trice,  every  ignoramus  would  come  here  and 
turn  optician  in  less  than  no  time." 

It  was  no  little  trouble  to  pacify  the  good  folks 

"  I  am  a  man  like  a  lamb,"  then  said  the  master; 
"  if  you  cannot  get  on  with  me  you  will  never  get 
on  with  any  one  in  this  world." 

"  Yes,  he  is  only  too  good  to  the  people,"  inter- 
rupted his  wife,  "and  what  he  wastes  on  other 
people  I  have  to  make  up  for." 

"Never  mind,"  said  the  master;  "you  take  good 
care  of  yourself;  but  I  will  be  honest  with  you,  you 
shall  not  have  it  to  say  later  that  I  kept  anything 
back  from  you.  In  the  first  place,  it  is  an  unhealthy 
trade.  Look  at  me,  see  what  I  am;  I  have  already 
swallowed  more  than  three  hundredweighj:  of  glass. 



I  know  I  shall  not  last  much  longer.  God's  will 
be  done  !" 

"  Don't  belie  yourself,  Christian,"  interrupted  his 
wife;  "if  one  is  as  strong  as  that  in  the  sixties, 
and  for  three  years  has  not  paid  the  doctor  or  the 
apothecary  a  farthing,  I  think  one  may  thank  God. 
You  must  not  believe  all  he  says." 

"Let  me  speak,  I  know  what  I  am  saying,"  re- 
torted the  master,  trying  to  give  himself  an  air  of 
importance.  He  first  clasped  his  little  finger  round 
the  ring-finger  of  his  left  hand,  then  said,  "  Sec- 
ondly, it  is  a  poor  trade;  you  get  nothing  by  it." 

"Yes,  yes,  he  is  right  there,"  commented  his 
wife.  "  When  we  began  business  we  and  the  late 
Greenwond,  who  lived  by  the  Town  Hall  that  is 
burned  down,  were  the  only  two,  and  there  are 
twenty-three  in  the  town  now;  we  hardly  earn 
water  enough  for  soup,  and  the  worst  of  it  is  we 
cannot  for  shame  give  up  the  business.  We  are  two 
old  people  and  do  not  need  much;  with  scraping 
and  saving  we  manage  to  pull  through,  so  that  at 
the  end  of  the  year  we  still  keep  our  things  to- 
gether. I  don't  know  how  folks  get  on  with  a  house 
full  of  children,  living  on  scanty  wages." 

His  father,  moved  by  these  representations, 
would  have  retracted  his  consent,  but  Spinoza 
stood  firm;  so  they  came  to  an  agreement  with  the 
master  that,  for  a  moderate  premium,  Spinoza 
should  learn  as  long  from  him  as  he  pleased. 



Such  was  the  wholly  new  atmosphere,  one  filled 
with  the  smell  of  pitch  and  glass  dust,  into  which 
Spinoza  now  entered.  Henceforward  he  spent  the 
greater  part  of  the  day  in  the  workshop.  He  learned 
to  handle  the  sharp  diamond  set  in  one  leg  of  a  com- 
pass, to  cut  pieces  of  a  certain  size  out  of  panes, 
the  pieces  still  keeping  their  crystal  facets  when 
split.  Spinoza  then  entered  on  the  first  grade  of 
the  honorable  art  of  polishing.  The  cut  piece  was 
fixed  on  a  vise  with  pitch,  this  fixed  to  a  lever,  and 
a  wheel  worked  with  the  right  foot.  A  strap  was 
fastened  round  this  and  to  a  roller,  on  which  was 
fixed  a  perfectly  smooth  plate  of  lead.  The  plate 
turned,  and  with  the  left  hand  the  fragment  of 
glass  was  pressed  against  it,  thus  inscribing  suc- 
cessive circles  on  it  until  the  glass  received  the 
required  form.  Wet  sand  must  be  continually  scat- 
tered over  it  to  avoid  setting  the  hard  material  on 
fire  by  friction,  and  to  increase  the  roughness  of 
the  lead.  The  first  stage  was  then  finished. 
Spinoza  would  have  preferred  a  less  troublesome 
and,  above  all,  a  cleaner  handicraft;  but  it  was  just 
these  additions  to  his  work  which  became  his  in- 
tellectual means  to  further  penetration  of  the  laws 
of  existence.  Men  are  much  inclined  to  regard 
apparently  rough  and  repulsive  labors  as  inferior. 
Spinoza  accustomed  himself  to  regard  the  circum- 
stances of  life,  not  according  to  their  popular 
estimation,  but  on  the  essential  grounds   of   their 



existence.  The  work  is  but  unclean  'from  one 
point  of  view;  while  engaged  in  it  the  workman  is 
covered  with  dust  and  sand,  but  its  aim  is  the 
highest  degree  of  purity  and  cleanliness.  At  the 
second  stage  it  was  decided  whether  the  smooth 
glass  was  to  receive  a  concave  or  a  convex  form, 
and  a  concave  or  convex  brass  plate  accordingly- 
fixed  on  the  cylinder;  a  screw  was  fixed  alternately 
on  either  glass  with  pitch,  and  this  by  means  of  a 
peg  turned  round  on  the  brass  plate,  on  which  the 
same  movement  as  in  the  first  stage  was  employed. 
Meanwhile  the  fine  sand,  now  ground  to  polishing 
dust,  must  be  spread  on  the  plate  by  means  of  a 
brush,  and  water  from  the  tin  can  near  spurted  out 
of  the  mouth  on  to  the  plate.  After  the  two  sides 
were  so  prepared  the  third  stage  was  proceeded 
to;  the  brass  plate  was  made  hot,  a  drilled  hole  on 
the  wrong  side  smeared  with  cement,  covered  on 
the  right  side  with  so-called  caput  mortuum  (oxyd 
of  iron),  water  being  still  sprinkled  continually  on 
it,  and  the  glass  thus  polished.  The  glass  hav- 
ing passed  through  the  three  stages  of  cutting, 
smoothing  and  polishing,  so  that  neither  crack  nor 
flaw  was  discoverable,  was  perfect. 

Spinoza  soon  mastered  the  mechanical  difficulties, 
and  the  first  glass  that  he  perfected  without  ex- 
traneous aid  from  its  roughest  state  to  the  satisfac- 
tion of  the  master  made  his  eyes  light  up  with 
pleasure.     The   sight  of  the  perfected  work  was  a 

246  SPINOZA. 

double  gratification,  gratification  that  tke  raw  ma- 
terial was  perfected  to  its  end,  and  gratification  to 
the  mind  of  the  workman  that  the  raw  material 
bore  the  impress  of  his  will. 

He  understood  the  mathematical  calculation  of 
the  glasses  and  their  combination  sooner  than  the 
master  had  expected.  The  books  must  have  con- 
tained something  more  than  mere  nonsense. 

While  Spinoza  chipped  glasses  for  the  short  and 
weak-sighted,  to  bring  the  distant  near,  and  the 
near  nearer,  he  worked  out  in  his  mind  the  finest 
optical  problems  to  clear  and  strengthen  the  mind's 
eyes  of  his  contemporaries  and  successors.  He  was 
glad  that  the  continual  whirring  allowed  but  short 
intervals  of  intercourse  with  his  comrades;  he  could 
-thus  follow  his  own  thoughts  undisturbed. 

There  was  one  merry  fellow  in  the  workshop, 
with  finely  cut,  handsome  features,  and  rough,  curly 
brown  hair;  he  always  sang  and  laughed  as  he 
pushed  the  door  open,  for  he  went  on  crutches, 
having  club  feet.  While  he  placed  his  crutches 
near,  and,  rolling  his  shirt-sleeves  up,  put  his  lathe 
in  order — he  worked  it  in  a  way  of  his  own  with 
his  knees — he  regularly  treated  his  fellow-workmen 
to  a  speech.  Once  he  said:  "Am  I  not  better  off 
than  King  Nebuchadnezzar?  He,  I  believe,  had 
earthen  feet,  and  could  never  have  stumbled  over 
our  bad  pavements.  I  have  pulled  the  arms  out  of 
a  tree  and  made  myself  feet  thereof;  the  next  time 

■  HANDICRAFT.  247 

an  eagle  flies  between  my  legs  I  will  pull  his  wings 
out  and  sew  them  on  me.  I  have  a  right  to  ask 
wings  from  our  Lord  God.  Why  has  he  given  me 
feet  I  cannot  use  ?  Brethren,  it  would  be  all  up 
then;  you  might  keep  St.  Monday  five  days  in  the 
week;  you  would  want  no  more  telescopes.  Does 
any  learned  gentleman  want  to  know  what  a  star 
looks  like  ?  Here  I  am,  Mr.  Peter  Blyning,  at  your 
service;  for  a  good  tip  I  will  fly  up  and  spy  it  all 
out  for  you.  Perhaps  I  might  stay  up  there  and 
come  down  no  more.  If  a  pretty  moon  maiden 
would  marry  me  I  should  be  quite  willing;  down 
here  I  must  die  a  bachelor." 

A  peal  of  laughter  always  followed  his  words, 
and  he  took  every  opportunity  of  treating  them  to 
his  oratory. 

"After  all,  as  things  are,  we  are  all  crutch  makers; 
what  our  Lord  and  God  has  bungled  over  we  have 
to  set  to  rights.  If  he  had  stuck  better  eyes  in  the 
folks  we  need  have  no  telescopes  and  no  spectacles. 
May  God  forgive  me  !  but  I  am  often  right  down 
angry  with  him.  What  have  I  done  to  him  that 
he  should  send  me  into  the  world  half  made  ?  If 
he  does  not  give  me  better  feet  up  there  he  may 
keep  his  eternal  life  to  himself.     I'll  none  of  it." 

They  all  stared  at  him  with  blank  faces  when  he 
spoke  like  this.  Spinoza  alone  tried  to  show  him 
that  physical  pains  and  imperfections  are  not  real 
evils;  and  that  it  is  a  man's  highest  vocation  to  lead 

248  SPINOZA. 

well  the  life  God  has  allotted  to  him,  and  not  to 
pine  for  powers  denied  to  us  by  nature,  for  in  so 
doing  we  shall  never  attain  to  true  peace  of  mind. 

"Yes,  you  have  spoken  well,"  said  Peter,  and  his 
voice  had  a  melancholy  tremble  in  its  tones;  "you 
have  spoken  well,  but  do  I  demand  more  than  be- 
longs to  me  by  right  as  a  man  ?  Look  here;  if  but 
for  once  in  my  life  I  could  dance  I  swear  I  should 
be  ready  to  go  to  my  grave  in  peace.  When  I  hear 
dance-music,  nay,  even  now,  this  moment,  when  I 
only  think  of  it,  I  think  I  could  jump  out  of  my 
skin  with  rage;  I  could  tear  my  eyes  out;  and 
shame  on  me  !  but  I  have  drunk  myself  often 
enough  blind  drunk,  because  I  was  afraid  the 
people  all  the  while  might  see  me  crying." 

Spinoza  strove  to  soothe  Peter;  he  won  his  good 
will,  so  that  he  was  occasionally  shown  how  to 
handle  his  work  by  him;  but  our  philosopher,  in 
the  midst  of  his  discourse,  was  often  aware  how 
infinitely  difficult  it  is  to  descend  from  the  heights 
of  ideal  generalities  to  daily  needs  and  the  ques- 
tions of  ordinary  men. 

The  rumor  spread  through  the  workshop  that 
Spinoza  was  a  great  scholar.  His  companions  were 
proud  of  their  apprentice,  and  boasted  of  him  in 
the  ale-house;  but  in  their  behavior  to  Spinoza 
himself  they  gave  him  plainly  to  understand  that 
he  was  only  a  Jew,  and  took  certain  airs  of  supe- 
rior birth  and  familiar  condescension  with  regard  to 



him.  Conquering  all  sensitiveness,  Spinoza  only- 
noticed  the  latter,  and  his  gentle  yet  self-possessed 
manner  turned  off  all  rudeness;  his  companions 
soon  acquired  a  certain  half  unwilling  respect  for 
Spinoza.  A  short,  impressive  sentence  spoken  by 
him  often  worked  long  in  the  minds  of  those  who 
heard  it.  Master  Huyghens,  and  his  wife  too,  soon 
became  fond  of  the  modest,  quiet  young  man. 
These  were  not  shepherds  and  fishermen,  not  men 
of  simple  life  in  continual  intercourse  with  eternal 
nature,  with  whom  he  could  live  like  the  wise  of 
old,  enriching  and  widening  his  own  intelligence. 
It  was  a  world  whose  activity  lay  far  from  aborigi- 
nal simplicity;  whose  inhabitants  spent  their  days 
in  every  imaginable  noise;  on  whose  minds  even  on 
holidays  it  was  difficult  to  impress  a  word.  But  by 
the  rushing  brook  or  the  whirring  wheel  the  souls 
of  men  are  as  alike  as  the  winds  that  carry  the 
different  waves  of  sound,  and  the  priesthood  that 
serves  the  eternal  laws  must  be  perpetually  renewed. 
As  in  nature  each  plant  shoots  upward,  it  lives  for 
itself  alone,  and  yet  to  the  minds  of  men  it  seems 
to  open  and  close  with  the  greatest  uniformity;  so 
the  activity  of  mankind  is  divided  into  different 
callings,  each  man  being  devoted  to  one  in  partic- 
ular, and  striving  to  fulfil  it;  but  to  the  thinking 
mind  all  are  united  in  the  working  of  one  great 
machine.  Spinoza  felt  especially  glad  to  stand  in 
the  ranks  of  those  who  earn  their  daily  bread  by 

2^0  SPINOZA. 

the  labor  of  their  hands.  For  all  thus  engaged 
quietly  fulfil  the  requirements  of  the  law  of  their 
nature.  Work  is  the  attribute  of  man;  he  fulfils  the 
law  in  employing  himself  of  his  own  free  will;  and 
it  is  a  great  and  glorious  chorus  that  comprises  all 
the  teaching  and  writing,  the  hammering  and  dig- 
ging, the  drilling  and  boiling  in  the  individual 
workshops  of  the  universe,  and  what  results  there- 
from. The  quiet  life  of  nature  is  mere  existence; 
intelligence  is  thought;  work  is  existence  and 
thought  united. 

Spinoza  was  sociable,  gay  and  contented. 

Not  so  Olympia  when  he  described  his  new  way 
of  life  to  her. 

"I  am  glad  we  agree  in  one  thing,*'  she  said; 
"  that  to  spend  the  livelong  day  in  brooding  over 
the  thought  of  others  is  either  too  much  or  too 
little  work;  so  much  so  that  it  becomes  tiresome  to 
me,  and  I  am  glad  to  count  *  my  stitches  again. 
When  I  am  sewing  my  best  thoughts  come.  Do 
you  see  that  garland  of  roses  ?  Legends  as  foolish 
and  extravagant  as  those  of  the  Gesta  Romanorum 
are  imprisoned  in  those  stitches.  Ah  !  how  glad  I 
was  then  that  I  knew  some  handicraft." 

"  But  I  do  not  work  merely  to  do  something  with 
my  hands,  but  to  give  my  teeth  something  to  chew." 

"  I  have  noticed  for  a  long  time,"  replied  Olym- 
pia, "  that  reading  Tacitus  has  made  you  quite 



"  I  was  not  aware  of  it,  but  I  am  in  sober  earnest, 
that,  for  the  future,  I  must  earn  my  own  liveli- 

"  What  did  you  acquire  so  much  learning  for 
then  ?  Not  for  mere  vanity,  I  hope  ?  My  father 
will  enlarge  his  Institute,  and  you  shall  be  a  head- 
master in  it;  will  you  not  be  my  colleague  ?" 

'*  I  am  sorry  to  say,  No.  You  may  call  it  ego- 
tism, but  my  first  duties  are  to  myself,  and  I  must 
first  be  clear  of  these;  then,  if  I  can  teach  anything 
that  would  be  of  service  to  mankind  I  will  think  of 
it;  but  neither  now,  nor  ever,  will  I  sell  the  smallest 
of  my  convictions  for  material  good." 

"  You  always  appear  like  a  Z>eus  ex  machinal' 
said  Olympia  to  Oldenburg,  as  he  entered.  "  Do 
you  know  that  your  god-child  is  preparing  to  be  a 
master-craftsman  ?" 

"An  apostle  to  all  lands,  rather,  you  would  say," 
replied  Oldenburg." 

"  If  it  were  only  some  pursuit,"  continued 
Olympia,  "  such  as  the  learned  men  and  statesmen 
of  old  times  followed,  like  agriculture,  I  should  not 
have  minded  so  much;  there  was  something  great 
in  making  extremes  meet,  and  doing  with  the  most 
cultivated  minds  the  work  of  the  rudest  aborigi- 
nes; even  fishing  and  carpentering  have  some- 
thing poetical  in  them ;  but  to  polish  glass  in 
an  obscure  room  cramps  and  stupefies  body  and 
soul.     It  sets  my  teeth  on  edge   to  think  of  glass 



polishing.  The  hand  of  a  philosopher  turning  the 
wheel  of  a  machine,  and  employed  in  stupid  manu- 
facture; it  is  too  repulsive  a  thought  /" 

"Do  not  abuse  handicraft,"  replied  Spinoza 
earnestly,  "  it  is  a  privilege  of  humanity.  The 
beasts  have  only  their  instinctive  faculties  of  work, 
to  build  their  nests,  obtain  their  nourishment,  to 
attack  and  to  defend.  Mankind  has  made  the  exter- 
nal productions  of  nature  his  limbs.  If  he  wants  the 
flight  of  birds,  the  speed  of  deer,  arrow  and  ball 
will  overtake  either.  His  hands  can  with,  difficulty 
dig  up  the  earth;  he  melts  iron  and  points  it  as 
hatchet  or  plough,  yokes  the  strength  of  beasts  to 
it,  and  carves  and  shapes  both  wood  and  stone. 
The  peaceful  crafts  of  shaping  and  building  are  the 
noblest  inheritance  of  mankind,  are  sacred  tradi- 
tions. Whoever  leaves  an  improved  tool  to  pos- 
terity gives  a  helping  hand,  and  here  a  thousand 
immortal  minds  work  on  in  obscurity.  If  I  could 
in  thought  or  deed  invent  something  that  would 
serve  men  after  me  in  the  enlightenment  and  beauti- 
fying of  life,  I  should  be  happy;  but  never  must 
we  forget  that  all  that  is  so  handed  down  is  but  a 
tool  for  our  own  formation." 

"  That  is  all  very  fine  and  witty,"  said  Olympia, 
womanlike  seizing  one  thought  out  of  the  whole  to 
reply  to;  "every  one  can  think  that,  without  being 
an  artisan  himself.  Why  should  you  work  with 
sacred  axes,  sacred  hatchets,  and  sacred  files  ?'* 



"Because,  to  answer  in  your  own  way,  I  am 
cumbered  with  a  sacred  body,  that  requires  food; 
and  with  the  handicraft  I  have  chosen  I  will  de- 
monstrate the  whole  theory  of  dialectics  to  you  : 
Two  concave  glasses  laid  on  one  another  show  the 
object  at  which  you  look  through  them  upside 
down,  the  reflecting  glass  between  brings  it  again 
into  its  right  position." 

"When  were  you  born?"  interrupted  Oldenburg. 

"A  strange  question.  Sir  Godfather,"  replied 
Spinoza,  "  if  you  do  not  yet  know,  in  November  of 
the  year  1632." 

"That  is  excellent,"  continued  Oldenburg;  "did 
you  never  hear  of  the  Görlitz  Apostle  who  raved 
in  perpetual  apostolic  ecstasies  ?  On  November, 
'24,  he  departed  this  life.  He  was  by  trade  an  hon- 
orable shoemaker,  and  I  will  show  you  from  the 
Apocalypse  that,  seven  years  after  his  death,  a  new 
philosopher  must  be  born,  also  a  handicraftsman." 

"  Your  comparison  limps,"  said  Olympia,  "  for 
your  Jacob  Böhme  was  a  shoemaker,  and  became 
a  philosopher,  while  our  Maledict,  from  a  philoso- 
pher became  a  handicraftsman." 

"  Excuse  me,"  said  Spinoza;  "  the  jest  does  not 
limp,  but  has  a  leg  too  many,  for  there  are  eight 
years  between  24  and  32." 

"That  does  not  matter,"  answered  Oldenburg, 
"  if  you  amputate  a  year.  But  in  truth  and  earnest, 
you  offend  your  friends  by  the  aim  to  which  you 

254  SPINOZA. 

are  devoting  your  life;  the  case  is  so  clear  to  me 
that  I  can  not  only  speak  before  our  friend,  but 
before  every  one.  Have  you  not  declared  to  me 
yourself  that  among  friends  everything  is.  in  com- 
mon ?  Are  we  so  ethereal  that  we  can  only  ex- 
change words  and  feelings,  and  not  clinking  gold  ?" 

'^  I  know  your  generous  heart,  and  you  know  I 
thereby  thank  you,"  replied  Spinoza;  "  but  I  have 
already  told  you  that  I  will  never  receive  a  gift 
from  a  friend,  as  long  as  I  can  work  for  my  living 
with  my  hands." 

Spinoza  was  not  to  be  dissuaded  from  diligently 
following  his  trade. 



**TTOW  do  you  like  Kerkering?"  inquired  Olympia 
1 1     one  day  when  he  did  not  come  to  the  lesson. 

"As  you  do,"  retorted  Spinoza. 

"You  build  too  much  on  our  habit  of  taking  the 
words  out  of  each  other's  mouths,"  answered  Olym- 
pia.    "  What  fault  do  you  find  with  him  ?" 

Spinoza  flushed  red  at  having  to  answer  this, 
partly  because  he  had  silently  extended  similar 
blame  to  Olympia,  partly  because  he  feared 
Olympia  might  misconstrue  his  words  as  jealousy. 
These  contradictory  thoughts  flashed  through  his 
mind  in  a  second,  and  after  a  short  pause  Olympia 
continued  : 

"Kerkering  is  thoroughly  good-hearted;  his  lo- 
quacity is  the  national  failing  of  the  Hanseatic 
towns  of  Germany." 

"Now  I  see,"  replied  Spinoza,  "  that  the  Jews 
are  not  alone  in  having  the  fate  to  be  judged  in  a 
body  by  the  first  and  best  individual  that  chance 
throws  in  the  way.  But  consider  the  self-possession 
and  calm  judgment  of  ethical  subjects  that  charac- 
terize our  friend  Oldenburg.  Why  not  take  him 
as  a  type  of  the  Hanseatic  townsmen  ?" 

256  SPINOZA. 

"You  are  right,"  replied  Olympia;  "but  you 
make  such  progress  with  me  that  I  shall  never  allow 
myself  to  judge  in  future.  I  am  too  easily  influenced 
by  surrounding  circumstances,  and  you  compre- 
hend the  general  view  so  acutely." 

"  Do  not  call  it  masculine  vanity,"  responded 
Spinoza;  "but  you  confirm  what  I  have  observed 
with  my  sisters  and  their  friends;  women  seldom 
seem  to  feel  pleasure  in  mere  rectitude;  they  do 
not  judge  of  the  deed  but  the  doer,  and  of  him 
with  either  partiality  or  prejudice." 

"  Agreed.  Well,  we  are  not  in  the  world  to  phi- 
losophize. You  agree  with  me  there;  you  too  do 
not  like  this  jingling  prattle,  with  its  cut  and  dried 
ready-coined  thoughts;  if  these  pennies  are  always 
in  circulation  they  become  worn  out,  lose  all  fresh- 
ness in  the  impression,  and  retain  only  nominal 
value.  So  it  is  with  Kerkering,  he  is  wanting  in 
true  inner  worth." 

"  He  has  his  compensations,"  said  Spinoza,  "he 
has  all  the  more  jingle." 

Olympia  seemed  to  have  no  inclination  to  pursue 
this  turn  of  the  conversation,  for  she  continued 
with  her  eyes  sparkling  strangely: 

"  Our  friend  Oldenburg  always  wants  me  to  try 
mv  hand  at  poetry  like  my  namesake  Olympia 
Morata;  but  I  must  confess  that  I  pity  poets  almost 
as  much  as  I  respect  them,  because  they  both  can 
and  must  lay  bare  their  deepest  feelings  to  the  eyes 


of  the  whole  world.  It  seems  to  me  that  if  I  were 
to  express  to  the  world  my  inner  life,  what  con- 
stitutes the  core  of  my  being,  I  should  no  longer 
be  my  own;  the  world  would  have  me,  I  should  re- 
main but  a  shadow  of  what  I  had  resigned,  and 
must  suddenly  vanish  away.  So  I  prefer  the 
ancient  philosophers'  way,  who  never  made  their 
own  minds  the  subject  of  discussion;  they  had  an 
esoteric  doctrine  expressed  only  in  symbols,  never 
in  words." 

"With  the  idea  with  which  you  started,"  said 
Spinoza,  "  I  am  in  perfect  harmony.  If  I  were  a 
theologian  I  might  make  an  allegory  of  it:  how 
the  high-priest  of  the  temple  of  Jerusalem,  on  peril 
of  his  life,  entered  the  Holy  of  Holies  but  once  a 
year,  declaring  the  unutterable  name  of  Jehovah 
therefrom,  while  all  the  people  without  fell  on  their 
faces.  By  a  little  '  pious  fraud '  we  might  easily 
substitute  the  idea  which  you  have  otherwise  ex- 
pressed; but  I  am  not  fond  of  such  interpretations, 
they  are  usually  self-deception  or  worse." 

"  Do  not  take  the  thing  so  barbarously  literally; 
that  is  a  glorious  interpretation;  but  once,  when 
the  divine  unites  itself  with  the  human,  the  Holy  of 
Holies  of  the  temple  of  the  heart  may  be  opened, 
and  the  unutterable  incorporate  itself  in  words. 
Why,  it  would  be  a  good  symbol,  too,  for  many 
situations  in  life;  in  daily  intercourse  those  who 
are  near  and  dear  to  each  other  keep  their  isolated 

258  SPINOZA. 

niches,  which  then  would  open,  and  would  forebode 
what  lies  so  deep  in  the  heart  and  cannot  be  ex- 

"  Forebodings,  even  between  the  most  confiden- 
tial, are  often  illusions," 

"  No,  not  in  this  case,  indeed  not.  Ah  !  it  is  so 
heavenly  to  feel,  dispensing  with  words,  yet  with 
undoubting  confidence,  that  the  very  depths  of  ou< 
souls,  which  no  eye  can  penetrate,  are  in  friendly 
communication  with  another's.  What  can  be  better 
than,  in  the  thousand  varying  circumstances  of  life, 
to  look  into  other  eyes  and  know  that  there  every 
feeling  exists  with  equal  power,  and  in  unchange- 
able harmony  with  your  own?" 

With  what  deep  unutterable  yearning  Olympia 
gazed  at  Spinoza;  a  rich  color  flushed  her  cheeks, 
her  lips  trembled  with  excitement,  her  whole  at- 
titude was  one  of  abandonment. 

Spinoza  regarded  her  with  unmoved  countenance. 
Could  a  man  of  such  fine  feeling,  sensitive  to  the 
slightest  influences  of  thought  and  imagination, 
could  he  not  see  that  here  was  a  soul  yearning  for 
conscious  communion  with  his  ?  Had  he  no  feel- 
ing for  her  ?  Or  did  he  by  force  of  will  repress  an 
inclination  that  could  only  bring  trouble  to  both 
himself  and  Olympia? 

"The  unutterable  of  which  you  speak,"  said 
Spinoza  after  a  painful  pause,  "  I  see  more  clearly 
day  by  day   must  rem/ain  such  with  our  thoughts 



of  God  and  nature;  we  are  never  more  than  half 
understood,  or  are  misunderstood." 

Clearly  he  had  comprehended  Olympia,  and 
wished  to  turn  her  thoughts  into  another  channel. 

"  I  shall  not  be  able  to  come  here  to-morrow," 
continued  Spinoza;  "my  sister  is  to  be  married  to 
young  Casseres.  May  she  be  truly  happy !  She 
understands  me  best;  we  often  converse  together 
half  the  night  through." 

This  digression  had  not  the  desired  effect. 

"You  are  more  fortunate  than  I,"  replied  Olym- 
pia. "  I  am  so  lonely.  I  never  knew  my  mother. 
You  cannot  imagine  what  it  is  for  a  girl  never  to 
have  known  her  mother.  I  have  often  thought  how 
very  different  I  should  have  been  if  I  had  not 
grown  up  among  men,  and  been  educated  almost 
entirely  by  my  father.  That  dreadful  war  robbed 
me  of  my  only  brother;  my  cousin  Cecilia,  who  has 
stayed  here  during  my  father's  absence,  was  his 
betrothed.  Ah  !  you  would  have  been  a  dear  friend 
to  Cornelius,  perhaps  more  so  than  to  me." 

''Certainly  not  that — but  it  is  odd  you  should 
both  have  such  heathenish  names." 

Did  Olympia  not  agree  to  this,  or  did  she  really  not 
hear  him  ?    Anyhow  she  continued  in  the  same  tone: 

"I  have  often  thought  that,  if  one  of  us  must 
die,  would  it  not  have  been  better  if  I  had  died  ? 
Cornelius  could  have  been  of  use  to  and  enjoyed 
the  world;  buv  I — what  should  I  live  for?" 

26o  SPINOZA. 

"  To  feel  joy  in  yourself,  to  illuminate  and  charm 
with  your  intellect  and  graceful  presence,"  an- 
swered Spinoza,  inwardly  blaming  himself,  think- 
ing he  had  committed  a  fault  in  speaking  thus. 

"  You  jest,"  Olympia  answered  bitterly.  "  Once, 
I  confess,  I  was  vain  enough  to  think  so,  but  I  have 
learned  to  see  that  nature  should  have  sent  me 
into  the  world  under  another  mask,  and  at  another 

"Pray,  do  not  belie  yourself,"  interrupted  Spi- 
noza. "  I  am  sure  you  think  better  of  the  world 
and  of  yourself.  I  dare  not  praise  you,  you  say 
so  often  I  have  no  eye  for  beauty." 

Cecilia  entered  the  room  at  this  point,  and  re- 
lieved them  both  from  a  painful  conversation. 
Spinoza  soon  after  took  his  departure.  He  went 
home  with  a  peaceful  sense  of  self -conquest,  for  he 
thought  that  he  had  suppressed,  with  masculine 
power,  the  first  buds  of  Olympia's  inclination  for 
him.  A  certain  secret  triumph  he  could  not  repress, 
that  he  should  without  solicitation  be  beloved  by 
such  a  woman  as  Olympia. 

Olympia  was  out  of  temper  the  whole  evening, 
and  as  she  lay  on  her  bed  she  bedewed  the  pillows 
with  bitter  tears. 

"  Has  it  gone  so  far  with  thee,"  she  said  to  her- 
self, "  that  thou  throwest  thyself  on  any  one's  neck, 
and  he  stands  with  straightened  arms!" 

She  sighed   deeply,   and  Cecilia   often   inquired 



what  was  the  matter  with  her;  she  gave  no  answer, 
and  pretended  to  be  no  longer  awake,  but  in  fact 
could  find  no  rest. 

"  He  is  a  heartless,  selfish  man,  with  a  frosty  in- 
tellect !" 

No,  she  could  not  say  that,  she  could  not  think 
so  of  him.  His  youthful  modesty,  his  invincible 
truthfulness,  and  above  all,  the  unmistakable  signs 
of  good  will  and  love  for  humanity  in  his  counte- 
nance, the  tender  smile  of  his  loving  mouth,  and 
the  glowing  depths  of  his  dark  eyes!  No,  she  could 
not  make  him  a  caricature. 

Singing  and  carolling  she  arose  next  morning, 
and  as  she  stood  before  the  glass  her  looks  said: 

"  No,  it  has  not  come  to  that  yet,  and  were  he  a 
god,  and  thought  himself  raised  above  all  human 
woes,  my  honor  and  self-respect  require  that  he 
should  kneel  to  me;  and  then,  having  won  him,  I 
will  see  how  to  begin." 

With  gay  self-satisfaction  she  continued  her  toi- 

Not  with  suchgayety  did  Miriam  de  Spinoza  don 
her  wedding  garments,  for  religious  custom  had 
here  ordained  a  strange  and  harsh  contrast.  Be- 
neath the  glistening  bridal  robes  the  bride  must 
wear  the  sheet  in  which  she  will  one  day  be  laid 
in  the  bosom  of  the  earth,  her  winding-sheet;  the 
lovely  ringlets  of  Miriam  from  this  day  forward 
would  be  hidden  beneath  the  cap  and  veil;  the  long 

202  SPINOZA. 

prayer  of  the  Day  of  Atonement  with  its  list  of  sins 
niust  be  repeated;  neither  meat  nor  drink  must  pass 
her  lips  till,  beneath  the  wedding  canopy,  her  bride- 
groom pass  her  the  love-draught  in  the  wedding- 
goblet,  allowing  her  to  drink  thereof,  then  shatter- 
ing the  glass  against  the  wall. 

The  family  feast — since  his  banishment  among  all 
nations  the  only  one  of  joy  remaining  to  the  Jew — • 
aroused  to  the  full  his  inwardly  fostered  yearnings. 
The  agitation  which  the  wedding  preliminaries  and 
the  wedding  itself  caused  in  all  hearts  was  now 
dissipated  in  unchecked  gayety.  The  married  pair 
pressed  each  other's  hands  and  told  each  other  that, 
in.  view  of  the  newly  consummated  union,  all  so 
long  suppressed  would  receive  new  life.  Youths  and 
maidens  looked  glowingly  at  one  another;  the  one 
became  quieter,  the  other  more  openly  animated 
to  hide  their  emotions.  .  A  tearful  thrill  was  in 
every  voice  of  the  assembly,  and  yet  it  sounded  as 
harmony  to  each,  and  as  they  looked  from  one  to 
the  other  each  read  joy  in  the  other's  countenance. 
At  tableau  rejoiced  in  the  affectionate  meeting  and 
suitable  union,  all  expressed  their  joy,  and  drank 
to  each  other's  health,  and  in  this  expression  of  their 
rejoicing  it  grew  yet  greater.  All  praised  the  bride 
and  bridegroom,  their  beauty,  their  good-hearted- 
ness,  their  future  happiness,  and  found  a  reflection 
of  all  these  in  themselves. 

Baruch,  in  the  midst  of  this  com.munity  of  feel- 




ing  and  rejoicing,  was  but  the  more  sad  and  lonely. 
Was  it  because  he  could  not  help  thinking  of  Olym- 
pia that  he  felt  a  stranger,  or  because  he  was  so 
far  removed  from  the  present  company  in  point  of 
thought  ? 

The  meal  was  over,  the  cigars  puffed  cheerily,  the 
company  grouped  themselves  according  to  their 
liking,  and  the  hum  of  voices  became  still  more 
animated  as  it  was  heightened  by  an  occasional 

Baruch  remained  seated  at  the  table;  his  face  was 
flushed,  for  he  had  imbibed  no  less  than  the  others 
of  the  "  sweet  fire."  He  dreamily  gazed  into  the 
bottom  of  his  glass. 

Chisdai,  who  had  come  to  Miriam's  wedding  feast 
to  conceal  the  fact  of  his  former  wooing,  approached 
Baruch  with  Ephraim  Cardoso.  "  Wine  that  re- 
joices the  heart  of  man"  (Ps.  civ.  15)  he  recited, 
waving  his  glass  with  jovial  emphasis. 

"  That  is  probably  the  reason  why  the  Talmudists 
wished  men  to  have  no  vivifying  wine,"  replied 
Baruch,  "but  wgakened  it  by  the  admixture  of 
water."  Baruch  addressed  the  words  to  his  glass, 
but  Chisdai  must  have  overheard  them. 

"Yes,"  said  Ephraim,  as  he  drank  to  Baruch, 
"our  forefathers  knew  how  to  live.  Does  not  the 
Talmud  say,  '  The  Spirit  of  God  only  rests  on  man 
in  gladsomeness '  ?  I  was  once  by  when  the  late 
Professor  Barläus  said  to  Rabbi  Manasseh  Ben  Is- 

264  SPINOZA. 

rael,  '  Only  the  Greeks,  not  even  the  Romans,  un- 
derstood how  really  to  enjoy  life;  the  Jews  were 
always  too  much  engrossed  in  fathoming  what  God 
was,  what  he  was  like,  and  how  he  should  be  served. 
That  they  had  been  fairly  successful  in,  but  mean- 
while all  enjoyment  of  earthly  life  had  gone  to 
the  ground.'  He  should  come  here  now  and  see 
whether  we  cannot  be  jovial  good  fellows  in  the 
fear  of  God." 

"Well  met,  Ephraim,"  said  Baruch,  and  drank  to 
him  kindly. 

"And  even  if  what  Christ  said  was  true,"  said 
Chisdai,  as  he  struck  the  table,  "we  could  give  up 
all  pleasures,  ay,  even  life  itself,  for  the  truth  that 
we  alone  possess,  the  revelation  of  the  real  nature  of 
God.     We  alone  are  free  from  error  and  deception." 

"  Ho,  ho!"  laughed  Baruch,  "  you  take  too  much 
in  your  mouth.  Do  you  not  know  that  in  the 
tractate  Sabbath"  (and  he  added,  according  to  cus- 
tom of  the  Scribes,  page  32)  "  it  tells  of  the  Tal- 
mudist  Rabbi  Samuel,  who  would  never  go  over  a 
bridge  unless  accompanied  by  soQie  one  of  another 
faith,  because  Satan  could  not  prevail  against  two 
religions  ?" 

Chisdai  stroked  his  young  beard  and  inquired: 

"You  are  now  studying  the  Greeks  and  Romans; 
tell  me,  do  you  not  find  all,  and  much  more  than 
all,  in  Judaism  that  the  learning  of  other  nations 
can  show  ?" 


**  Look  at  the  thing  aright,"  answered  Baruch; 
"there  is  as  much  and  as  little  of  mere  truth  in 
the  Bible  as  in  other  books.  Look  at  it  impartially 
and  not  with  Jewish  prejudice.  Is  not  the  human 
soul  sometimes  spoken  of  as  contained  in  blood, 
sometimes  in  breath  ?  Ay,  and  moreover,  is  God 
an  immaterial  being  in  all  passages  of  the  Bible  ? 
I  know  the  Bible  is  said  to  tell  people  the  literal 
truth;  but  consider:  God  is  represented  as  filling 
space,  for  he  appears  on  Mount  Sinai  in  clouds  and 
fire;  in  the  vision  of  Moses  his  foot  was  of  white 
sapphire.  And  that  is  the  highest  ideal  of  God  ! 
There  are  sublime  and  pure  ideas  of  God  to  be 
found  in  the  Bible;  but  how  he  is  in  and  about 
things,  how  he  creates  and  maintains,  that  seems  to 
me  to  be  taken  for  granted,  never  proved.  And 
even  that  on  which  we  lay  most  stress — the  con- 
ception of  him  as  the  one  only  Godhead — is  not 
sufficing,  and  can  only  be  used  figuratively,  because 
we  cannot  form  any  idea  of  or  expression  for  the 
omnipresence  of  God." 

Chisdai  clenched  his  fists  under  the  table.  "And 
the  prophets,"  he  asked,  "  have  they  all  known 
nothing  aright  ?" 

"  The  prophets,"  answered  Spinoza,  "  were  great 
and  upright  men,  endowed  with  a  spirit  that  strove 
to  comprehend  the  infinite  whole;  men  to  whose 
hearts  not  only  the  fate  of  Israel  but  that  of  the 
whole  world    lay  near.      As    Isaiah    says  (xvi.  9), 

266  SPINOZA. 

'Therefore  I  will  bewail  with  the  weeping  of  Jazer/ 
but  beyond  that  they  were  men  as  we  are,  ay,  in 
many  things  more  ignorant  than  we  are,  for  in 
many  cases  they  did  not  know  the  first  principles 
of  the  laws  of  nature.  If  the  Spirit  of  God  spoke 
directly  by  them  how  could  they  remain  ignorant 
of  such  simple  things  ?" 

He  spoke  yet  further  on  these  subjects,  and  in 
the  details  he  adduced  he  became  yet  sharper  and 
more  decided.  Chisdai  remained  quiet  and  cold, 
but  ground  his  teeth.  When  he  had  heard  enough 
he  went  away  with  Ephraim  without  saying  a  word. 

Spinoza  remained  at  the  table  alone;  he  would 
not  rise;  all  seemed  so  uncongenial  and  repulsive 
to  him.  He  had  just  drunk  off  a  glass  of  wine  to 
distract  his  thoughts  when  his  sister  Miriam  ap- 
proached him. 

"  What  have  you  done  ?"  she  said.  "  That  spite- 
ful Chisdai  is  breathing  fire  and  fury  against  you. 
I  was  standing  by  Chaje  in  the  kitchen,  and  re- 
minding her  how  she  once  dreamed  of  my  wed- 
ding, when  I  heard  Chisdai  cry,  '  Cursed  be  the  air 
breathed  by  this  shameless  one  !  You  have  heard, 
Ephraim,  how  Baruch  has  slandered  God  and  the 
prophets.  Oh,  that  no  hand  will  stretch  from 
heaven  to  tear  his  lying  tongue  from  his  jaws  ! 
But  I  will  not  lay  my  head  down  to  rest  until  he  is 
swept  from  the  earth.'  Ephraim  tried  to  pacify 
him.     *  It  is  well  you  were  by,'  continued  Chisdai. 


*  One  witness  is  not  evidence;  you  must  go  with 
me  before  the  Sanhedrim;  we  will  accuse  him;  he 
must  be  laid  under  the  great  ban;  I  will  yet  set  my 
foot  on  his  neck.*  Ephraim  said  he  would  not 
witness  against  you — he  had  heard  nothing.  'So 
you  will  not ! '  cried  Chisdai,  and  seized  him  by  the 
arm;  *  then  you  must  swear  you  heard  nothing, 
and  if  you  do  you  may  go  to  the  devil  with  him.' 
I  heard  it  all,  for  they  did  not  notice  me.  But, 
dear  brother,  you  bring  the  most  fearful  misfor- 
tunes on  us.  I  would  rather  die  now,  on  my  wed- 
ding day,  than  live  through  this." 

Spinoza  pacified  his  sister,  but  he  could  not  pac- 
ify himself. 

"  How  great  you  thought  yourself  yesterday,"  he 
said  to  himself,  "when  you  told  Olympia  that  our 
conceptions  of  highest  things  should  remain  un- 
expressed in  the  soul.  Now  you  have  proved  your- 
self."    The  whole  day  he  remained  sunk  in  grief. 

Chisdai's  efforts  had  not  the  wished-for  result. 
Every  one  had  regard  for  Benjamin  Spinoza  and 
his  influential  connections;  and  there  were  only 
words  not  deeds  adduced  against  Baruch.  Chisdai 
was  obliged  to  defer  his  undertaking  to  a  more 
favorable  opportunity;  he  could  easily  wait  that 
length  of  time,  for  soon  after  Miriam's  wedding 
Baruch's  father  again  lay  dangerously  ill.  No  one 
would  inform  the  sick  man  of  the  rumor  that  at- 
tached to  his  son.  ^<^<^  T^Tn^^^ 




OLYMPIA  from  day  to  day  revealed  the  wealth 
of  her  intellectual  and  spiritual  life  more 
freely  to  Spinoza,  and  he  felt  himself  most  agreea- 
bly excited  by  the  vivacity  and  elasticity  of  her 
mental  powers.  She  had  not  only  that  rare  qual- 
ity in  a  woman — the  desire  for  unvarnished  truth 
in  the  correction  of  her  modes  of  thought,  but 
that  of  accepting  unreservedly  and  freely  these 
demands  against  herself.  She  had,  moreover,  a 
sort  of  hospitable  motherliness  which  took  charge 
with  friendly  alacrity  of  all  that  was  brought  to 
her,  even  of  what  she  did  not  know  what  to  do 
with.  Thus  it  happened  that  she  perpetually  at- 
tracted fresh  offerings,  and  many  things  that  the 
bringer  had  wholly  forgotten  she  brought  forward 
on  some  later  occasion  to  his  astonishment,  and 
occasioned  a  double  feeling  of  pleasure  to  the 
original  possessor — pleasure  in  the  unforeseen  pos- 
session and  in  its  faithful  guardian.  Thus  Spinoza's 
thoughts  easily  took  reference  to  Olympia,  and  he 
was  more  communicative  to  her  than  to  his  friends. 
Was  not  such  devotion  love  ? 

Spinoza  knew  himself  to  be  free  from  all  desire 

Pantheism,  26g 

to  possess  Olympia;  he  found  so  much  to  blame  in 
her,  and  can  love  find  anything  to  blame  in  the 
object  of  its  regard  ?  He  rightly  disapproved, 
however,  of  Olympia's  referring  so  often  with 
indestructible  naivete  to  the  wealth  and  lux- 
ury of  her  earlier  experiences;  if  a  new  life  had 
begun  for  her  with  his  appearance,  what  was  this 
resurrection  of  the  dead  for  ?  Ought  not  the  past 
to  disappear  without  leaving  a  trace  behind  in 
view  of  present  happiness  ?  Olympia,  strange  to 
say,  thought  to  strengthen  her  partially  weakened 
natural  power  by  her  traditional  power,  but  Spi- 
noza's disapproval  thereof  ought  to  have  served  as 
a  proof  that  he  was  not  perfectly  free  from  the 
desire  for  possession,  since  he  certainly  desired 
monopoly  of  rule.  One  day  Spinoza  and  Olden- 
burg were  with  Olympia. 

^"  Heaven  is  not  favorable  to  us  to-day,"  said 
Oldenburg,  "  for  it  makes  such  a  tearful  face  at 
us  that  we  must  renounce  all  idea  of  spending  a 
pleasant  day  at  your  hospitable  Buiten  (country 

"  Heaven,  that  is  a  fine  invention !"  retorted 
Olympia  jestingly;  *'  that  weather  prophet  (pointing 
to  a  barometer)  is  the  thing  now.  Heaven  can  no 
longer  do  as  it  likes,  Torricelli  has  shown  himself 
its  master.  Is  it  not  perfect  despair  to  think  that 
we  have  now  neither  Heaven  nor  Hell  ?  Copernicus 
and  Galileo,  more  fortunate  than  the  Titans,  have 

2/0  SPINOZA. 

stormed  Heaven.  The  stars  nearest  to  us  are  dark 
bodies  like  the  earth,  and  the  earth  far  off  is  as 
bright  as  the  twinkling  stars;  our  star-decked 
carpet  is  gone;  where  now  can  we  place  the  throne 
of  God  ?  .  Hell,  too,  we  have  no  more.  There,  we 
used  to  think,  below,  far  below,  roasted  and  stewed 
the  godless,  till  Columbus  steered  ever  westward, 
and  now  we  know  that  people  live  there  too  just 
as  we  live.  What  shall  we  do  now  with  our  pious 
and  godless  ones  ?" 

"Jufrow  Olympia,"  answered  Spinoza,  "did  you 
not  perfectly  agree  with  me  last  Friday  when  I  ex- 
plained to  you  that  the  external  appearances  of 
things  had  justly  fallen  away  that*men  might  hold 
fast  to  the  ideal  of  them  ?  Every  elevation  of  mind 
by  which  a  man  rises  above  his  personal  harmony 
and  chimes  in  with  the  universal  harmony — the 
existence  of  God  you  may  call  it,  if  you  are  so  fond 
of  the  term — is,  to  my  ideas.  Heaven  and  its  felicity; 
that  state  of  forcible  separation  from  self,  no  hold 
in  self,  and  no  external  support  in  opposition 
to  the  laws  of  natural  destiny,  shaken  by  the 
slightest  impulse,  without  consciousness  of  unity 
with  the  whole — can  there  be  a  more  frightful 
hell  ?" 

"Granted,"  replied  Olympia,  "but  I  prefer  my 
earlier  ideas." 

"That  I  believe,"  said  Oldenburg;  "but  you 
cannot    throw  such    metaphysical     ideas    at    any 



one's  head;  that  is  not  friend  Spinoza's  fault,  how^ 

Oldenburg  had  not  intended  his  words  to  contain 
any  double  meaning,  but  they  gave  that  impression. 
Olympia  blushed,  and  a  pause  ensued;  but,  though 
embarrassed,  she  quickly  tried  to  resume  the  thread 
of  their  discussion. 

"You  can  hardly  believe,"  she  began,  "how  in- 
expressibly miserable  I  was,  when,  as  a  child  of 
ten  years  old — you  must  not  find  out  how  long  ago 
that  is — I  realized  that  there  was  no  sky,  and  that 
the  earth  turned  round  in  infinite  space.  It  seemed 
as  if  I  held  my  life  in  my  hand,  and  might  at  any 
moment  let  it  fall.  My  father  soon  set  me  at  rest 
as  to  the  movement  of  the  earth,  but  I  cannot  en- 
dure the  loss  of  the  heavens  yet.  It  was  so  beauti- 
ful when  it  was  a  firm  canopy,  and  now  the  blue 
dome  is  nothing  but  refraction,  the  blue  of  the 
heavens  nothing  but  the  blue  of  the  distant  moun- 
tains, produced  by  light  on  one  side,  and  dark 
bodies  in  the  background  on  the  other.  Oh,  our 
beautiful  blue  heavens  !" 

Spinoza  thought  of  his  grief  at  the  death  of  his 
Uncle  Immanuel;  it  was  singularly  fascinating  to 
feel  that  Olympia  had  gone  through  the  same 
struggle  as  himself.  Oldenburg  took  it  upon  him 
to  answer. 

"I  condole  sincerely  with  you,"  he  said,  "to  be 
robbed  of   the  delicious   hope  of  one  day  hearing 

2/2  SPINOZA. 

your  silvery  voice  resound  in  the  chorus  of  the 
angels,  and  with  wings  on  your  back,  glistening 
with  rainbow  tints,  sing  Hallelujah  and  Hosanna  all 
day  long  for  entertainment." 

"  The  ambassadors  of  Heaven  do  not  use  such 
stale  compliments  as  the  envoys  of  the  Hanse 
towns,"  replied  Olympia  hastily,  and,  turning  to 
Spinoza,  continued:  "Listen,  I  can  give  you  an  ex- 
ample from  very  near  what  a  good  refuge  the  old 
Heaven,  is.  My  cousin  Cecilia,  who  has  stayed  very 
long  at  mass  to-day,  was  the  betrothed  of  my 
brother  Cornelius;  now  he  is  dead  she  is  pleased 
to  see  her  charms  fade,  for  her  daily  prayer  is 
that  God  may  be  pleased  soon  to  take  her  to 
her  bridegroom  in  Heaven.  On  his  birthday  she 
writes  to  him  regularly,  and  describes  her  life  of 
the  past  year,  rejoicing  that  another  year  of  their 
long  probation  has  gone  before  their  eternal  uiiion. 
It  is  often  quite  weird  to  me  to  be  with  her.  I  feel 
as  if  I  had  a  sleep-walker  with  me  who,  by  some 
unexpected  cry,  might  be  startled  from  her  safe 

Cecilia  entered  dressed  in  the  deep  mourning 
which  she  had  never  laid  aside  since  the  death  of 
her  lover;  from  the  customary  black  veil,  which 
covered  her  from  head  to  foot,  looked  forth  a  pale, 
refined  face  on  which  pain  and  sorrow  were  at 
home;  the  weary  eyelids  drooped  over  the  blue 
eyes,  whose   fire   was    extinguished.     The    painful 


shock  which  pervades  a  company  when  any  one 
enters  who  has  just  been  spoken  of  was  deepened 
now  by  the  singular  apparition  of  Cecilia;  with  a 
rose-garland  in  her  hand  and  that  pious  endurance 
in  her  countenance  she  looked  like  some  beatified 
penitent.  Olympia  was  secretly  annoyed  that  she 
had — for  which  the  two  friends  had  already  blamed 
her  in  their  own  minds — so  publicly  revealed  the 
secrets  of  a  broken  heart.  No  one  could  find  a 
word  with  which  to  resume  the  conversation;  even 
Oldenburg,  the  sworn  foe  of  all  melancholy,  could 
not  suppress  a  shudder  when  he  looked  at  Cecilia. 
She,  too,  felt  that  she  had  caused  embarrassment, 
and  soon  excused  herself  on  the  pretext  of  having 
forgotten  a  visit. 

'*  I  often  envy  Cecilia  the  peacef ulness  of  her 
faith,"  said  Olympia. 

"  You  can  acquire  it  yourself,"  replied  Spinoza. 

"  No,  I  cannot,"  replied  Olympia  hastily.  "  I  once 
complained  of  my  unhappiness  to  my  uncle  Boni- 
face, who  was  priest  of  St.  John's  here.  He  advised 
'^  me  to  read  the  Bible;  I  did,  but  it  was  of  no  use. 
He  told  me  perpetually  to  read  it  with  a  believing 
mind,  but  that  is  what  I  was  seeking  in  it;  if  I  had 
it  already  I  should  not  want  the  Bible.  It  seems 
so  hard  and  difficult  often,  when  I  think  that  I  can- 
not understand  the  reason  and  object  of  the  world." 

"I  think  Descartes  could  help  you  over  your 

2/4  SPINOZA. 

"  Oldenburg,  you  are  a  zealous  missionary  for 
your  philosophical  warrior,"  said  Spinoza.  "Do 
you  think  Jufrow  Olympia  would  agree  with  the 
view  that  soul  and  body  are  each  self-existent 
beings,  who  would  not  follow  each  other  if  the 
miraculous  intervention  of  God  did  not  connect 
them,  and  constrain  them  to  mutual  obedience  ?" 

"  That  would  be  a  pair  in  harness  such  as  Frau 
Gertrui  Ufmsand  calls  unwilling  matrimony.  I 
hate  that  like  death." 

"Tell  me  plainly,  do  you  find  the  doctrine  of 
Öfescartes  so  thoroughly  unsatisfactory  ?"  inquired 

"  It  is  not  my  business  to  discover  the  faults  of 

"  Then  tell  us  simply  your  own  solution  of  the 
eternal  problem." 

"That  is  not  so  easy  to  do;  rules  concerning  ex- 
ternal facts  are  much  more  easily  defined  than  con- 
cerning processes  of  thought." 

"  I  have  noticed,"  said  Oldenburg,  "  instead  of 
Descartes'  cogito  ergo  S2cm  you  put  sum  cogitans.  To 
think  and  to  be  are  inclusive,  not  exclusive.  In  that 
case  thunder  and  lightning  are  one,  even  though  two 
different  minds  first  perceive  them  one  after  an- 

Spinoza  nodded  smilingly,  and  after  considerable 
opposition  he  explained:  "The  connection  into 
which  Descartes  has  brought  his  two  substances  by 




means  of  a  third  is  only  apparent.  Two  perfectly- 
independent  and  unconnected  substances  cannot  be 
co-existent,  for  where  the  one  ceases  the  other  be- 
gins; they  exist  in  proportion,  in  the  exact  propor- 
tion to  their  limitation  and  negation  of  each  other, 
each  one  thus  neutralizing  the  absolute  independ- 
ence of  the  other.  Nor  can  two  equally  perfect 
wholes  co-exist  together,  for  either  they  are  totally 
"or  partially  dissimilar,  so  that  neither  is  perfect, 
l)ecause  each  one  lacks  certain  perfections  of  the 
other,  or  they  are  totally  similar,  in  which  case  they 
are  identical.  So  that  these  two  substances  are  not 
'held  together  by  a  third,  but  are  merely  different 
^appearances  of  one  thing;  and  we  can  only  think 
of  one  thing  as  perfect  and  independent  of  all 
others,  and  that  is  God.  Spirit  and  matter,  thought 
and  space,  are  but  different  manifestations  of  one 
and  the  same  being." 

"Is  there  then  a  God  ?"  asked  Olympia. 

"God  alone  is;  the  idea  of  God  as  necessarily 
includes  the  idea  of  existence  as  the  idea  of  a 
triangle  includes  the  idea  that  the  three  angles  are 
equal  to  two  right  angles." 

~  "  Can  we  have  as  clear  an  idea  of  God  as  of  a 
triangle  ?" 

"  If  you  ask.  Can  we  have  as  clear  an  idea  of  God 
as  of  a  triangle?  I  answer,  'Yes.'  If  you  ask,  Can 
we  have  as  plain  an  image  of  him  as  of  a  triangle  ? 
I  answer,  *  No.'     For  we  cannot  represent  God  to 


2/6  SPINOZA. 

ourselves  in  an  image;  we  can  only  recognize  him 
in  thought.  He  is  the  infinitude  of  all  qualities 
thought  of  as  a  unit;  but  we  recognize  him  only 
in  single  manifestations,  which  we  trace  back  to 
him  as  the  centre;  but  we  cannot  comprehend  this 
centre  as  such,  nor  make  any  exhaustive  representa- 
tion of  it.  The  words  one  and  only  one,  with  which 
we  could  designate  God  as  the  only  self-existent 
substance,  are  always  founded  on  human  concep- 
tions. God  is  an  incommensurable  quantity,  which 
can  have  no  reference  to  any  other,  because  nothing 
beyond  it  exists.  One  and  only  one,  though  taken  in 
their  exclusive  sense,  still  presuppose  a  reference  to 
some  other.". 

*'  Does  God  then  stand  in  no  relation  of  com- 
parison with  nature  and  history?" 

"  Nothing  exists  that  is  not  of  him  and  from  him; 
all  that  occurs  he  does;  all  that  is  he  is;  it  is  only 
a  change  of  form;  the  eternal,  the  infinite  is  ever  the 

"Oh,  that  is  glorious!"  cried  Olympia;  "the  pure 
childlike  joy  of  nature,  with  its  hidden,  smiling 
deities,  such  as  the  ancients  had,  is  here  so  beauti- 
fully combined  with  the  awe-inspired  reverence 
that  Jews  and  Christians  observe  in  the  contempla- 
tion of  nature.  God  lives  in  us,  ourselves;  from  the 
crimson  lips  of  the  rose,  from  the  modest  eyes  of 
the  violet,  in  the  melting  notes  of  the  nightingale, 
the  same  spirit  speaks  that  lives  in  me;  they  know. 




and  see,  and  hear  me  as  I  see  them;  we  are  one. 
Yea,  I  think  even  the  inanimate  objects  have  what 
we  call  individual  life  or  soul,  and  cannot  under- 
stand. Any  unskilful  lout  can  blow  a  flute,  but,  as 
we  express  it,  the  tones  are  no  longer  pure  and 
true;  and  though  we  notice  no  difference  in  the 
material,  its  Psyche  is  injured.  Only  a  skilful  master 
can  again  draw  out  its  rightful  tones  with  careful 
handling;  and  again  we  notice  no  alteration  in  the 
material  parts.  Ay,  and  the  soul  of  man  can  just 
the  same  be  put  out  of  tune,  and  how  it  rejoices 
when  the  right  tone  is  again  elicited." 

It  Was  difficult  after  this  digression,  which  had  a 
certain  relative  aim,  to  return  to  the  original  com- 
mon train  of  thought.  Oldenburg  wished  to  hold 
fast  to  his  more  than  ordinarily  communicative 
friend,  and,  in  his  peculiar  manner,  he  tried  first 
to  secure  his  ally,  and  enable  him  to  proceed  at 
the  same  pace.  So  he  turned  to  Olympia  and 

"  Women  do  not  like  demonstrations  that  are  not 
pictorial,  in  which  they  are  often  like  children.  If 
philosophy,  however,  is  to  be  compared  to  any  art 
it  should  not  be  to  music,  but  to  the  plastic  art. 
Yes,  you  may  smile.  Ideas  are  cold  and  colorless 
as  marble.  The  images  of  the  chisel,  like  abstract 
thoughts,  are  not  mere  portraits  of  this  or  that  par- 
ticular figure.  They  rise  the  higher  the  more  they 
become  typical.     There   the  beauty  of   humanity, 

278  SPINOZA. 

here  true  humanity.  The  philosopher  is  a  sculptor, 
however  paradoxical  it  may  sound." 

Olympia,  too,  was  ready  to  fall  in  with  his  humor, 
but  she  turned,  not  to  Oldenburg,  but  to  Spinoza, 
and  said: 

"  Many  ways  lead  to  Rome,  also  to  the  Rome  oj 
free  thought.  Each  one  works  out  the  given  mate- 
rial, according  to  his  custom  and  requirements.  1 
will  prove  to  you  that  I  understand  you.  When 
you  say  we  have  as  clear  an  idea,  but  not  as  cleai 
an  image  of  God  as  of  a  triangle,  I  translate  it  to 
myself  thus:  there  are  no  pure  notes;  each  tone 
comprises  several  different  ones  as  it  is  struck, 
swells,  and  dies  away.  We  cannot  perceive  the 
pure  note,  it  is  too  fine  for  us.  Even  so  we  can,  in 
the  thought  of  God,  form  only  an  ideal,  not  an 

Spinoza  said  at  last,  smiling: 

"  I  would  only  explain  still  further,  that  though 
we  feel  ourselves  one  with  the  infinite,  the  degrees 
of  consciousness  of  the  innate  divine  power  are  yet 
infinitely  different.  Above  all  we  must  lay  aside 
that  pride  of  humanity  that  regards  everything 
around  it  as  mere  means,  and  itself  alone  as  the 
end  and  aim;  that  values  everything  only  in  its  re- 
lation to  itself — the  supposed  turning-point.  Every- 
thing in  the  world  consists  of  means  and  end  com- 

"I  follow  the  banner  of  my  generalissimo,"  inter- 


rupted   Oldenburg,   "and   ask,   Is  iL_liot  merely  a_ 
refined  materialism  to  which  you  return  ?" 

"Were  it  rational,  it  would  be  justifiable,  but  I 
come  to  quite  another  result.  The  only  and  exclu- 
sively enduring  substance,  which  to  me  remains  the 
only  conceivable  one,  is  not  the  rough  clod  which 
cannot  in  any  case  be  got  rid  of.  I  do  not  material- 
ize spirit,  I  spiritualize  matter." 

"  How  do  you  explain  with  this  eternally  identi- 
cal substance  the  origin  of  the  world  ?" 

"  The  idea  of  cause  and  effect  is  innate  in  us, 
and  recognized  by  external  evidence.  If  you  follow 
up  the  train  of  effects  and  causes  you  must  at  last 
come  to  a  first  cause;  this  first  cannot  be  the  result 
of  any  other;  it  contains  the  reason  of  its  existence 
in  itself;  it  is  cause  and  effect  in  its  original  un- 
createdness;  ,  is  God  in  his  revelation  as  world.. 
The  origin  of  the  world  is  the"  origin  of  God  him- 
self; the  one  is  not  imaginable  without  the  other. 
Tlie  world  is  the  only  external  manifestation  of  the 
existing  God.  If  God  has  the  .power  in  himself  to 
create  the  world  he  must  create  it,  for  in  him 
dwells  no  power  that  does  not  immediately  pro- 
ceed to  its  exercise;  a  latent,  useless  power  would 
be  imperfection  which  we  could  not  ascribe  to 
God  as  the  ideal  of  all  perfection.  It  can  neither 
be  a  casual  nor  an  arbitrary  external,  nor  a  similar 
internal  motive  which  sets  this  power  in  motion; 
not  external,  for  God,  as  the   epitome  of  all  per- 

28o  SPINOZA. 

fection,  must  be  absolutely  independent,  and  cannot 
be  subject  to  any  external  influence;  it  cannot  be 
internal  either,  as  a  mere  exertion  of  arbitrary  will, 
for  if  God  could  will  this,  or  will  the  other,  he 
might  also  will  something  imperfect,  in  opposition 
to  his  nature;  he  can  only  will  the  perfect,  and  his 
will  is  deed,  so  all  in  him  is  inevitable  necessity. 
God  has  the  world  in  him,  and  is  in  it;  God  and 
the  world  are  alike  eternal.  Truly  those  who  have 
thought  of  God  as  something  above  the  world, 
floating  in  empty  space  (which  does  not  exist),  to 
them  God  was  before  the  world;  he  created  it  out 
of  nothing,  and  still  hovers  over  it  in  Heaven.  But 
long  ago  men  were  aware  that  from  nothing  some- 
thing cannot  come,  and  so  must  have  recourse  to 
strange  theories  of  emanation.  So  the  world  re- 
mains ever  something  that  God  has  cut  loose  from 
himself,  which  he  watches  over  and  with  which  he 
interferes  from  time  to  time;  so  that,  according  to 
their  theory  of  things,  the  miracles  are  acts  by 
which  God  disturbs  the  once  firmly  settled  order 
of  nature,  his  own  revelation.  But  miracles  were 
done  only  as  long  as  men  believed  in  them;  in  our 
time  there  are  no  more.  Are  we  therefore  forsaken 
of  God  ?  In  any  case,  if  this  were  the  true  view, 
but  it  is  not,  for  God  is  not  the  external  cause,  but 
the  internal  innate  cause  of  the  world's  existence, 
in  him  all  is  an  act  of  free  necessity,  everything — " 
**Look!    look!    there   is   a  white   raven!"   cried 


Olympia,  rushing  to  the  window,  ana  Oldenburg 
stood  up  to  see  what  she  meant  by  the  ill-timed 
jest;  Spinoza  only  sat  still  and  smiled  quietly;  but 
Olympia  could  hardly  contain  herself  for  laugh- 

"You  a  statesman  !"  cried  Spinoza,  "and  not  see 
that  I  was  guilty  of  a  mesalliance  between  royal 
families  of  ideas  !  But  sit  down  again,  and  I  will 
avenge  you  on  the  jester,  I  purposely  chose  the 
expression.  Tell  me  what  is  the  meaning  of  ne- 
cessity ?" 

"  I  was  confirmed  long  ago,  and  need  not  be  cat- 
echised so  strictly;  yet — necessity  is  anything  that 
must  be." 

"  Only  half  expressed;  all  that  without  innate  op- 
position to  its  own  nature  cannot  otherwise  than  be, 
^hat  is  necessity.  That  no  slumbering  power  can 
fee  imagined  in  God  I  have  already  proved  to  you; 
and  all  that  he  does,  and  is,  he  is  and  does  from 
innate  necessity,  but  freely;  for  to  be  free  is  to  be 
moved  to  act  of  himself,  and  from  no  outward  or 
neighboring  cause.  God,  therefore,  outside  whom 
nothing  is,  and  who  continually  wills  of  himself, 
acts  continually  in  perfect  freedom;  ay,  even  men 
then  are  not  free  (as  is  usually  believed)  when  they 
act  in  contradiction  to  the  laws  of  their  nature;  for 
there  it  is  always  an  external  impulse  they  obey, 
not  their  own  nature;  they  are  only  truly  free  when 
they  act  in  accordance  with  the  necessities,  or,  if 

282  SPINOZA, 

you  prefer  it,  the  laws,  of  their  nature,  for  then  it 
is  only  themselves  whom  they  obey." 

^'  Still  another  question  occurs  to  me,"  inter- 
rupted Olympia.  "  God,  who  has  his  laws  or  his 
necessities  in  himself,  is  in  all  his  acts  free;  but 
men,  who  have  received  the  cause  and  laws  of  their 
actions  from  God,  act  according  to  the  universal 
will,  and  yet  are  not  free  ?" 

"  The  individual  inclination  is  as  different  from 
the  universal  will  as  Peter  and  Paul  are  from  man- 
kind; they  exist  and  act  for  themselves  in  indi- 
vidual freedom,  though  they  fall  collectively  under 
the  idea  and  laws  of  humanity,  of  which  they 
cannot  pretend  to  be  perfect  representatives.  Who- 
ever has  advanced  so  far  that  his  individual  in- 
clinations are  in  immediate  accord  with  the  uni- 
versal laws  of  reason,  so  that  he  destines  himself 
for  what  God  or  nature  has  destined  him,  he  lives 
in  God,  and  is  a  partaker  in  the  highest  felicity, 
but  only  a  partaker.  In  the  individual  the  com- 
munity cannot  be  included;  it  is  as  impossible  as 
the  squaring  of  the  circle." 

"  But  in  that  way,"  objected  Oldenburg,  "  if 
everything  happened  inside  the  limits  and  accord- 
ing to  the  laws  of  the  universal  or  divine  will,  the 
evil  would  be  as  much  of  necessity  as  the  good, 
and  he  who  does  evil  is  not  accountable  for  it.  All 
therefore  must  be  blessed.     And  the  Scriptures  lie 



that  say,  God  punishes  the  wicked.     Evil  is  thus  a 
necessity,  and  why  did  God  create  it  ?" 

"  When  it  is  called  so  in  the  Scriptures,  it  is  be- 
cause they  are  not  written  to  teach  men  philosophy, 
but  only  obedience  and  righteous  living,  and  there- 
fore accommodate  themselves  to  ordinary  ways  of 
expression.  God,  however,  did  create  what  we  in 
our  ordinary  conceptions  call  imperfections,  because 
he  had  the  material  to  create  everything  with  one 
word,  from  the  highest  to  the  lowest  degrees  of 
perfection;  or,  to  speak  more  exactly,  because  the 
laws  of  his  nature  are  so  comprehensive  that  they 
are  sufficient  for  the  creation  of  all  that  can  only 
be  grasped  by  an  infinite  intelligence.  Men  can  be 
excused  their  deeds,  and  though  losing  in  happi- 
ness on  that  account,  they  may  be  chastened  with 
much  trouble  and  sorrow.  I  answer  with  Paul," 
continued  Spinoza  in  a  stern  voice,  '  They  act  ac- 
cording to  their  nature  like  serpents,  and  like  ser- 
pents must  therefore  be  destroyed.'  He  who  be- 
comes mad  through  a  dog's  bite,  is  he  not  excused  ? 
And  yet  men  do  right  to  burn  him.  He  who  cannot 
restrain  his  inclinations,  or  control  himself  by  re- 
gard for  the  law,  is  to  be  excused  on  account  of  his 
weakness;  but  yet  he  will  never  rejoice  in  peace  of 
mind,  the  knowledge  and  love  of  God,  which  is  the 
only  true  good;  it  is  a  matter  of  necessity  that  he 
goes  to  ruin." 

284  SPINOZA. 

"  You  speak  of  the  love  of  God,"  said  Olden- 
burg, "  of  that  which  we  have  for  him,  and  of  that 
which  he  bestows  upon  us.  If,  as  you  say,  God  does 
everything  of  necessity,  he  does  nothing  for  love, 
and  because  he  must  do  everything,  if  he  would 
not  resign  his  own  existence,  he  cannot  demand 
our  love,  and  we  could  not  offer  it  to  him." 

"  That  is  a  fine  objection  !"  replied  Spinoza. 
"  Must  love  be  something  in  opposition  to  nature, 
or  arbitrary,  to  be  accepted  as  such,  or  to  earn  a 
return  of  love  ?  Was  it  not  love  that  your  father 
bestowed  upon  you  ?  And  did  you  love  him  less, 
because  he  must  love  you  according  to  his  innate 
nature?  What  is  commonly  called  the  miracle  of 
love  arises  from  that  innate,  and  therefore  free, 
determination  by  that  highest  necessity  which  is 
placed  in  our  nature;  and  that  is  true  love,  with 
the  indelible  stamp  of  divinity.  Each  outward  act, 
each  labor,  each  work  of  art  is  the  freer  and  more 
perfect  the  less  arbitrary  will  has  to  do  with  it,  the 
more  thorough  the  innate  law  has  become  and  lets 
it  appear  to  be  a  free  product  of  nature.  The  self- 
knowledge  of  what  each  one  will,  or  ought  to  do, 
that  is  salvation;  therefore  love  of  God  is  the 
highest  salvation,  or,  as  I  might  call  it,  the  highest 

Olympia  followed  the  two  friends  but  unwill- 
ingly and  with  difficulty  into  the  icy  region  of  meta- 
physical contemplation,  where  no  flowers  bloomed, 


and  no  birds  sang,  and  all  below  was  enveloped  in 
the  mists  of  the  universal.  She  admired  and  rev- 
erenced Spinoza's  intellectual  power  that  could 
bear  her  up  there,  and  give  her  a  glimpse  of  the 
infinite,  but  it  was  strange  to  her  to  be  here  above 
the  clouds,  the  way  to  her  organ,  her  well-ordered 
books  and  gay  canary  birds  lay  so  far  away;  so 
she  greeted  these  words  of  Spinoza's  as  a  message 
from  her  happy,  familiar  home  life.  She  was  no 
longer  afraid  of  this  heaven-storming  hero-mind, 
for  he  who  could  speak  such  words  as  these,  he 
must  know  how  to  love.  Her  cheeks  glowed,  her 
sparkling  eyes  gazed  absently  into  space,  her  whole 
soul  was  deeply  moved.  The  two  friends  did  not 
notice  it,  for  they  were  discussing  the  unbroken 
and  insoluble  connection  of  the  universe.  At  last 
Spinoza  looked  at  Olympia,  and  she  at  him;  their 
eyes  met. 

"  Where   were   you    then  ?"  asked  Spinoza  with  • 
tender  reproach. 

"Oh,  everywhere  !"  answered  Olympia  as  if  just 

"  But  not  with  us,"  said  Spinoza.    He  little  knew 
how  these  words  wounded  Olympia. 

"There  I  have  another  plain  proof,"  triumphed 
Oldenburg,  "  that  body  and  soul  are  tv/o  perfectly 
distinct  and  independent  things.  Your  soul  floated/ 
far  away  in  far  distant  realms,  and  wholly  forgot' 
that  you  were  simply  here  with  us." 

286  SPINOZA. 

"  If  you  turn  all  the  events  of  the  moment  so 
quickly  to  your  own  interest,  I  congratulate  the 
inhabitants  of  the  good  town  of  Bremen  on  their 

"Never  mind,"  said  Spinoza;  "he  only  wants 
to  revenge  himself  for  the  white  crow;  he  is  not  in 

"At  least  I  am  in  earnest  in  thinking  that  such 
examples  taken  from  surrounding  circumstances 
are  the  best  warnings  against  vague  specula- 

"  So-called  practical  proofs  easily  take  a  some- 
what angry  or  fanatical  tone,"  answered  Spinoza, 
laughing.  "  I  only  said  spirit  and  body  were  in- 
separable and  dependent  on  each  other  in  so  far 
that  they  can  only  be  viewed  as  different  manifesta- 
tions of  one  and  the  same  being;  the  spirit  cannot 
be  confined  by  the  body  nor  the  body  by  the  spirit. 
Still  no  one  has  discovered  what  the  body  is  capa- 
ble of  without  the  spirit,  or  by  what  means  the 
spirit  sets  the  body  in  motion.  Indeed  there  is  a 
considerable  class  of  ideas  to  which  we  know  in- 
dubitably certain  qualities  of  body  are  needful. 
Speech  and  silence  even,  which  we  regard  as  pre- 
rogatives of  the  mind,  and  from  which  man  de- 
duces his  absolute  pre-eminence,  prove  nothing,  for 
in  sleep  and  delirium  men  speak  without  any  vol- 
untary effort,  yet  through  the  mind.  Free  thought, 
reaching  far  beyond  our  mere  bodily  sphere,  always 



finds  room  without  the  intervention  01  any  inde- 
pendent separation  from  the  body." 

"  As  for  me  I  will  not  attempt  to  oppose  your 
theory,"  said  Oldenburg;  "this  co-ordinance,  and 
so  to  say  co-divinity  of  mind  and  body,  agrees  with 
a  favorite  idea  of  my  own.  I  always  disliked  to 
hear  the  phrase,  '  fleshly  desires  war  against  the 
spiritual.'  This  helotry  of  our  body  with  the  godly 
suppression  of  the  devil-nature  of  our  physical 
selves,  must  if  consistent,  as  with  the  Hindoos,  not 
only  excuse  suicide,  but  even  represent  it  as  the 
highest  moral  duty." 

"  Paradox,  rank  paradox  !"  said  Spinoza.  "A  sui- 
cide under  any  circumstances  is  guilty  of  spiritual 
cowardice,  for  he  lets  himself  be  completely  over- 
come by  external  things  that  happen  to  be  in  op- 
position to  his  nature.  From  the  lowest  stage  to 
the  higher  of  the  natural  order  it  is  the  fundamental 
duty  of  every  component  part  to  fulfil  its  destiny, 
and  this  in  a  reasonable  manner;  that  is,  as  our 
veritable  constitution,  shown  by  nature,  would  do 
by  Virtue.  This  is  no  egotistical  principle,  for  this 
self-preservation  is  impossible  without  the  corre- 
sponding preservation  of  others.  What  corresponds 
externally  with  our  nature  and  this  effort  of  self- 
preservation  is  good,  so  much  the  more  what  lies 
in  our  nature  itself  is  good;  naturally  we  must 
herewith  keep  firmly  before  our  eyes  that  only  the 
true  knowledge  of  God  and  our  own  nature  is  the 

288  SPINOZA. 

essential  good,  and  that  we  must  direct  the  aim  of 
our  lives  to  this.  Good  and  evil,  viewed  on  their 
own  merits,  are  not  positive  qualities  (which  is  also, 
to  a  certain  extent,  the  watchword  of  your  General); 
they  are  only  differing  forms  of  thought  or  concep- 
tion which  arise  because  we  compare  things  to  one 
another.  Your  favorite  occupation,  for  example, 
Jufrow  Olympia,  music,  is  good  to  the  melan- 
choly, bad  to  the  sad,  and  to  the  deaf  is  neither 
good  nor  bad."  Olympia  would  have  objected,  but 
Spinoza  continued  with  animation: 

"  We  would  have  it  for  the  ideal  of  mankind 
that  we  should  consider  the  expression  Good  as 
answering  to  all  of  which  we  certainly  know  that 
it  is  approximate  to  the  original  model  of  human 
nature,  and  Evilj  of  which  we  certainly  know  that  it 
is  in  opposition  to  it.  No  man,  thief,  murderer  or 
debauchee,  no  man  desires  evil  for  evil's  sake;  but, 
in  the  moment  in  which  he  commits  the  crime,  it 
seems  good  to  him  for  his  self-preservation,  for  the 
increase  and  improvement  of  his  own  well-being, 
and  is  only  erroneous  in  this,  that  in  following  his 
passions  he  becomes  unfaithful  to  the  laws  of  his 
nature.  The  freeman,  that  is  one  who,  coming 
straight  from  the  hands  of  God  or  nature,  knows 
naught  of  the  ideas  of  good  or  evil,  acts  in  every 
circumstance  according  to  the  immediate  impulse 
of  the  laws  of  his  nature;  then,  when  the  dissension 
between  his  wishes  and  requirements,  and  the  com- 



mands  of  his  nature  first  enters,  and  when  he  wishes 
to  avoid  this  by  the  intervention  of  others,  the 
knowledge  of  good  and  evil,  and  evil  itself,  enters. 
The  dissension  occurs  because  he  wishes  to  control 
himself  by  another  and  an  external  means,  and  no 
longer  acts  in  free  accord  with  his  internal  laws;  the 
discord  lies  in  the  fact  that,  for  the  fulfilment  of 
his  natural  laws  he  requires  an  agreement  with 
outward  circumstances.  The  free,  independent 
human  being,  such  as  the  earliest  one,  knows  no 
difference  of  good  and  evil;  he  acts  ever  in  accord- 
ance with  internal  harmony  and  freedom.  With 
society  entered  dissension,  sin  and  history.  It 
must  ever  remain  our  highest  object  again  to  in- 
corporate this  freedom  and  independence,  without 
disturbing  the  existing  constitution  of  society .  On 
the  contrary,  not  in  solitude,  but  in  communities, 
where  we  live  in  mutual  conformity,  we  are  free. 
We  must  mentally  return  to  that  standpoint  of  in- 
nate freedom  where  it  was  given  us  to  know  and 
follow  of  necessity  the  laws  of  God,  that  is,  of  our 
nature.  Such  was  the  pure  object  of  Jesus  Christ, 
to  lead  mankind  back  to  the  original  freedom  of 
their  laws,  in  natural  harmony  with  them.  There- 
fore was  he  come,  according  to  his  own  words,  not 
to  destroy  the  law,  but  to  fulfil  it." 

Spinoza   had   carefully  avoided  all    details   that 
could  give  occasion  for  a  digression;  but  Olympia, 

290  SPINOZA. 

who  had  again  obliged  herself  to  follow  the  dis- 
cussion, now  asked: 

"  Can  we  not  demand  from  your  ideas  that  they 
should  heal  the  ills  of  the  world,  and  make  the  sick 
and  sorrowful  whole  and  joyful !" 

'■''  I  do  not  understand  what  you  mean." 

"  I  ask  how,  in  your  view  of  the  creation,  do  you 
explain  physical  ill  ?  That  is,  something  actual  ? 
You  have  told  us  of  the  merry  glass-polisher,  Peter 
Blyning.  How  was  the  good  man  in  fault  that  he 
should  be  doomed  to  shuffle  along  club-footed  ?" 

"  You  confuse  your  questions  so  one  with  another 
that  I  must  take  the  liberty  of  separating  them. 
What  consolation  has  the  usual  view  of  things  for 
Peter  Blyning  ?  such  as,  '  Whom  God  loveth  he 
chasteneth,'  or  'We  are  here  but  candidates  for  a 
higher  career.'  The  question  still  remains,  Why 
should  his  candidature  be  made  so  difficult  ?  Above, 
all  will  be  set  right  for  him,  they  say;  but  if  he  is  to 
have  two  feet  up  there,  he  has  not  them  here,  and 
has  much  pain  for  want  of  them.  The  easiest  way 
of  shuffling  off  this  question  is  to  say,  *  The  ways 
of  God  are  unfathomable;'  that  is,  in  other  words, 
to  let  the  question  remain  a  question.  But  the  so- 
lution of  this  problem  lies  in  quite  another  direc- 
tion. All  ideas  of  perfection  and  imperfection, 
beauty  and  ugliness,  like  the  final  causes  which  we 
ascribe  to  nature,  are  not  necessarily  appropriate, 


but  merely  ascribed  to  her  by  us,  for  we  give  things 
relations  which  they  do  not  possess.  All  these 
ideas  merely  arise  because  we  compare  things  of 
similar  form  and  species,  and  then  discover  faults 
and  failings  where  none  such  exist.  Everything  is 
perfect,  for  each  thing  must  be  compared  with 
itself  alone.  Error  and  confusion  always  arise  be- 
cause we  prefer  to  measure  things  by  ideals,  that 
is,  with  universal  ideas  which  we  have  acquired  or 
imagined.  The  ideal  or  pure  idea  of  any  given 
thing  should  only  be  derived  from  itself,  from  its 
own  nature  and  attributes.  Then  the  complaint 
ceases,  that  the  world  does  not  realize  our  expecta- 
tions. Each  force  exists  and  appears  according  to 
its  own  laws,  not  according  to  an  ideal.  What  does 
not  follow  inevitably  from  the  necessary  working 
of  the  natural  cause  is  no  part  of  the  nature  of  a 
thing,  and  all  that  necessarily  follows  from  the  na- 
ture of  the  effecting  cause  rnust  of  necessity  be. 
Beyond  this  we  cannot  and  must  not  demand  any- 
thing; there  is  no  rule  and  no  obligation  beyond, 
and  we  can  apply  no  higher  measure.  Peter  Blyn- 
ing  is,  when  viewed  on  his  own  merits,  as  perfect 
as  the  most  perfect  Adonis.  He  can  no  more  de- 
sire other  feet  than  he  can  demand  wings,  for  the 
fundamental  cause  of  his  being  merely  suffices  for 
this  form,  and  for  no  other.  Do  you  think  it  an 
imperfection  that  an  ox  is  an  ox  and  not  an  eagle  ? 
To  every  stage  of  human  existence  it  is  permitted 

292  SPINOZA. 

to  feel  and  to  find  agreement  with  self  and  with  the 
universe,  and  to  be  raised  to,  and  sustained  in,  se- 
renity by  it.  Our  consciousness  of  harmony  or 
discord  with  our  assigned  nature;  the  belief  that 
this  consciousness  is  given  us,  which  man  as  a  mere 
instinct  calls  conscience — " 

"  Conscience  is  a  stocking  that  fits  any  foot.  The 
savage  strikes  his  father  dead  when  he  is  old  and 
infirm,  and  thinks  it  his  conscientious  duty;  the 
Jew's  conscience  reproaches  him  when  he  eats  the 
flesh  of  swine,  and  the  Catholic  beats  his  breast 
when  he  has  neglected  mass." 

So  spoke  old  Van  den  Ende,  who  then  suddenly 
entered.  Spinoza  quietly  replied  that  no  man 
could  reason  away  conscience.  That  pure  con- 
science which  merely  exists  in  the  feelings,  and 
which  men  have  dressed  in  all  manner  of  external 
shapes,  must  often  be  liable  to  deception;  but  that 
inner  voice  which  enters  our  consciousness,  which 
tells  us  so  plainly  when  we  have  acted  in  opposi- 
tion to  the  laws  of  our  nature  and  the  universal 
order,  is  as  undeniable  and  reliable  as  our  knowl- 
edge of  our  own  existence." 

"Yes,  my  dear  father,"  said  Olympia;"!  shall 
always  be  grateful  to  Herr  von  Spinoza  for  the 
many  great  ideas  which  he  has  imparted  to  us." 

She  then  explained  to  her  father  the  leading  ideas 
of  what  had  just  been  said.  Spinoza  had  now  and 
then  to    add  something,  but  on  the  whole  he  saw 



with  inexpressible  pleasure  how  completely  Olympia 
had  entered  into  the  grounds  of  his  views.  This 
pleasure  did  not  long  remain  undisturbed,  for  the 
laughter  of  old  Van  den  Ende  annoyed  him  ex- 

"  Do  you  remember  the  saintly  Christopher  in 
the  asylum  at  Milan,  of  whom  I  told  you  ?"  he  said. 
"He  would  suit  you  very  well;  he,  too,  was  of  a 
piece  with  God.  Ha,  ha,  ha  !  There  is  yet  some- 
thing excellent  left  to  laugh  at." 

Spinoza's  whole  soul  rose  against  these  words. 
Mockery  is  the  deadliest  poison  to  kill  the  seed  of 
life  in  a  growing  character  or  a  growing  idea.  Our 
philosopher,  however,  was  sufficiently  strong  al- 
ready to  blunt  and  turn  off  with  little  trouble  all  the 
pointed  arrows  that  Van  den  Ende  discharged  at 
his  speculations.  Spinoza  felt  strangely  touched 
when  Olympia  said  to  him  at  parting  : 

"  I  am  now  quite  grateful  to  the  rain  for  having 
confined  us  to  four  walls.  I  do  not  think  such  con- 
nected trains  of  thought  as  you  have  given  us 
could  arise,  or  be  expressed,  in  the  freedom  of 
nature;  color,  sound  and  fragrance  would  protest 
against  it,  for  that  we  must  be  alone  and  at  home. 
The  wise  Greeks  did  not  attain  to  it  because  they 
lived  and  taught  in  the  open  air.  Come  to-morrow 
to  our  Buiten;  Socrates  and  Plato  await  you  among 
the  green  bushes." 

Spinoza  had  not  time  to  explain  what  a  singular 



echo  this  expression  awoke  in  him,  for  he  recol- 
lected that  the  Rabbis  ordain:  ''When  two  go 
together  to  speak  of  the  Revelation  (the  Thora), 
and  one  says,  '  Look  how  beautiful  that  field  is, 
how  beautiful  that  tree  ' — he  has  committed  a 
deadly  sin." 

Does  the  highest  thought  demand  abstraction 
from  the  outer  world  ? 

The  two  friends  left  the  house  in  silence;  Cecilia 
met  them  just  in  front  of  it. 

"  You  too  must  say,  '  He  that  is  able  to  receive 
it  let  him  receive  it'  "  (Matt.  xix.  12),  said  Olden- 
burg; Spinoza  pressed  his  hand  and  they  separated. 

After  such  a  discussion  he  was  obliged  to  go  to 
the  synagogue. 



"FVE  LAGCHLUST"  was  the  inscription  over 
JLy  the  entrance  to  the  Van  den  Ende's  country 
house  outside  the  Utrecht  Gate,  with  its  freshly- 
painted  doors  and  window  shutters;  it  was  neat  and 
modest,  and  gave  evidence,  in  the  laying  out  of  the 
garden,  the  well-covered  espaliers,  rich  flower-beds 
and  shady  groves,  of  the  Dutch  character,  which, 
failing  in  the  beauties  of  mountainous  country, 
found  means  by  higher  culture  to  give  their  plains 
a  quiet  beauty  of  their  own. 

We  meet  our  familiar  companions  here  in  the 
open  air  at  last,  Olympic  gods  hidden  in  the 
bushes,  and  above  them  all  on  a  soft  green  lawn 
the  bust  of  Democritus  attracted  all  eyes. 

To-day  the  garden  and  house  did  not  seem  to 
answer  to  their  name.  No  desire  to  laugh  was  ap- 
parent. A  peculiar  feeling  of  depression  seemed  to 
possess  them  all. 

Kerkering  and  Van  den  Ende  walked  away  to 
a  distant  path  in  animated  conversation;  the  two 
friends  joined  Olympia  and  Cecilia.  Olympia  bade 
Spinoza  lay  his  cares  aside;  his  father's  illness  was 

296  SPINOZA. 

certainly  not  serious.  He  should  give  himself  up 
to  the  serene  enjoyment  of  nature  for  the  present. 

"Your  King  Solomon,"  she  continued,  "must 
have  been  very  fortunate  to  understand  the  speech 
of  all  birds  and  beasts;  he  must  have  been  so  much 
at  home  with  nature." 

"  Perhaps  he  was  too  much  at  home  therein,  and 
that  is  why  he  said  all  is  vanity,"  interposed  Olden- 

"I  do  not  miss  Solomon's  skill  in  my  enjoyment 
of  nature,"  said  Spinoza.  "  Nature  would  annoy 
me  if  she  were  eternally  chattering  to  me  of  all  her 
doings,  and  never  left  me  to  myself." 

He  had  no  second  thought  in  saying  these  words, 
but  Oldenburg  and  Cecilia  looked  at  each  other  in 
embarrassment  as  they  listened  to  them,  for  Olym- 
pia often  had  somewhat  of  the  lecturing  tone  com- 
mon to  most  teachers,  who,  from  the  habit  of  seeing 
pupils  stand  before  them  in  mute  attention,  carry 
their  explanations  and  expositions  into  conversa- 
tion also. 

Olympia,  however,  had  not  the  faintest  idea  of 
such  an  application  of  this  speech.  She  applied  it 
rather  to  their  parting  words  of  the  previous  day, 

"  I  cannot  bear  to  enjoy  nature  alone,"  she  said. 
"When  I  felt  myself  carried  away  into  other  worlds 
by  the  enjoyment  of  pure  sight,  I  Involuntarily 
grasped  at  my  side  to  press  some  friendly  hand  «n 
mute  sympathy." 




No  one  answered;  each  one  looked  at  the  ground. 
Oldenburg  had  for  some  time  perceived  the  rela- 
tions arising  between  Olympia  and  Spinoza  by 
their  occasional  glances  and  turns  of  speech.  He 
was  diplomatist  enough  to  believe  he  could  employ 
these  intercepted  secret  messages  towards  founding 
a  friendly  compromise  without  an  open  explana- 

"  What  do  you  say,"  he  said,  "  to  Queen  Christina 
of  Sweden  having  presented  her  crown  and  sceptre 
to  her  cousin,  not,  as  we  at  first  supposed,  to  gar- 
land herself  merely  with  the  poet's  laurel,  but  to 
deck  her  brows  with  the  myrtle  wreath  ?" 

"What !"  exclaimed  Olympia;  "is  Queen  Chris- 
tina going  to  be  married  ?" 

"Commercial  advices  arrived  yesterday  from 
Rome,  in  which  it  is  decidedly  affirmed  that  the 
daughter  of  Gustavus  Adolphus  will  return  to  the 
bosom  of  the  one  true  Church,  in  order  to  be  able 
to  marry  her  High-Chamberlain  Monaldeschi." 

"  Indeed  Queen  Christina  has  cast  off  all  earthly 
considerations  freely  and  unrestrainedly  to  partake 
of  the  blessings  of  our  faith,"  said  Cecilia  in  a 
gentle  voice,  and  no  one  contradicted  her. 

"  If  the  daughter  of  Gustavus  Adolphus  has  done 
this,"  said  Olympia  after  a  pause,  "  that  she  might 
belong  wholly  to  the  man  of  her  choice,  the  deed  is 
above  all  reproach;  love  is  a  bond  which  ought  to 
loosen  all  earlier  ones.     How  simply  and  truly  it  is 




expressed  in  the  Bible  where  it  says,  'For  her 
sake  leave  father  and  mother.'  The  question  here 
is  only  whether  the  obedience  of  the  so-called 
weaker  sex  goes  so  far  as  to  make  the  sacrifice  hers 
in  this  case.  Christina  of  Sweden  has  certainly 
done  enough  by  her  abdication;  is  it  not  rather  the 
man's  duty  to  take  this  unpleasant  step  instead  of 
hers  ?  If  he  would  not  do  it  he  would  be  unworthy 
of,  and  lost  to,  her  love,  and  her  step  would-  be 
censurable."  , 

"  But  if  such  a  step  were  in  opposition  to  his  own 
convictions  ?" 

Olympia  did  not  answer  and  looked  at  the 

Spinoza  hesitated  whether  to  join  in  the  conver- 
sation or  not,  for  he  had  partly  penetrated  Olden- 
burg's intention.  As  Olympia,  however,  here  looked 
at  him  with  an  entreating  and  inquiring  glance,  he 
replied  : 

"  If  Monaldeschi  were  the  cause  of  her  abdica- 
tion, and  knew  it,  he  had  taken  upon  himself  re- 
^  sponsibilities  towards  the  Queen,  and  nothing  ought 
longer  to  prevent  him  from  agreeing  to  her  wishes 
in  everything;  but  if  insuperable  objections  existed 
for  him,  he  ought,  as  a  man  of  honor,  to  have 
rejected  the  connection  from  the  beginning,  as  one 
whose  obligations  he  neither  could  nor  would 
fulfil.  I  might  make  a  more  general  application  of 
this  event.     The  reformed  ministers  of  this  country 


accept  the  doctrine  of  Descartes  as  the  best  deduc- 
tion from  Calvin's.  Queen  Christina,  the  most 
zealous  follower  of  this  philosopher,  who  taught 
her  himself,  can  find  proofs  in  it  on  which  to 
ground  her  conversion  to  the  Catholic  Church." 

"  The  Catholic  religion  is  the  mother  Church,  and 
it  is  a  natural  impulse  to  return  to  it." 

"  Speak  out,"  said  Oldenburg  to  Spinoza.  "  I 
see  by  the  corners  of  your  mouth  you  wish  to  an- 
swer, If  the  Catholic  Church  is  the  mother,  the 
Jewish  is  the  grandmother  Church,  and  could  just 
as  well  demand  that  we  should  don  her  vestments. 
But  we  will  take  another  example.  Turenne  is  so 
pre-eminently  a  field  marshal  by  nature,  he  will 
only  bear  the  star  of  his  own  faith  on  his  breast, 
standing  in  the  front,  and  not  in  the  ranks  among 
the  members  of  the  Catholic  Church  like  a  com- 
mon soldier.     Is  he  not  right  to  do  so  ?" 

Spinoza  noticed  the  digression  as  Van  den  Ende, 
who  had  come  into  the  circle  with  Kerkering,  in- 

**  Turenne  is  a  soldier,  and  soldiers,  who  hourly 
risk  their  lives,  do  not  willingly  lay  aside  their 
familiar  armor;  they  think  this  or  that  superstition 
has  made  them  shot  free;  but  if  once  peace  were 
made  I  do  not  think  it  would  be  difficult  to  make 
Turenne  turn  Catholic." 

"  Were  he  capable  of  loving  a  girl  tenderly  and 
ardently,"  added  Kerkering,  "  he  would  soon  join 



the  one  saving  faith  of  her  possession.  It  would  be 
cowardice  then,  when  the  greatest  was  at  stake, 
not  to  be  able  to  conquer  a  prejudice  acquired  in 
the  nursery.  He  who  truly  loves  can  only  believe 
in  his  beloved  one;  her  heart  is  his  church,  her 
words  his  only  revelation,  she  alone  is  worthy  of 
his  reverence,  and  nothing  is  above  her.  That  is 
the  true  regeneration  that  we/ desire  in  a  maiden's 
love,  which  makes  us  inseparably  one  with  her. 
Who  can  think  then  of  the  limitations  w^hich  men 
place  around  one  another?" 

His  companions  stared  in  astonishment  at  Ker- 
kering's  words;  only  old  Van  dan  Ende  nodded  ap- 
provingly, and  Olympia  said  after  an  awkward 

"  While  we  are  talking  over  principles,  a  poet's 
mistress,  sick  unto  death,  is  perhaps  dying  for  such 

"Who  is  that?"   inquired  Oldenburg. 

"The  betrothed  of  your  former  friend,  the  poet- 
ess Maria  Tesselschade,  will  hardly  greet  to-mor- 
row's dawn.  Did  you  know  Caspar  Barläus,  Herr 
von  Spinoza?" 

"  No,  Jufrow  Olympia,  but  my  old  master, 
Nigritius,  who  was  once  insulted  by  him,  has  often 
abused  him  to  me." 

"  Seven  years  since,"  continued  Olympia,  "  I  re- 
member it  quite  well,  it  was  not  long  after  New 
Year's  Day  of   1648,  they  found  him   in  the  well 




near  the  weighing-house  quite  dead.  He  had  been 
with  his  betrothed  the  evening  before.  The  well 
was  on  the  way  to  his  own  house." 

"  Had  he  thrown  himself  in  ?" 

Olympia  nodded  assent;  she  forbore  to  assent  in 

'*  He  certainly  killed  himself,"  Oldenburg  re- 
marked; "but  it  is  incomprehensible  to  me  how  he 
could  hold  fast  to  Tesselschade  for  so  many  long 
years,  and  at  last,  when  they  were  both  grown  old, 
take  such  a  desperate  step  because  he  could  not 
marry  her." 

"Why  could  he  not?" 

"She  was  Catholic  and  he  was  Protestant;  in- 
deed, he  had  formerly  suffered  much  persecution  as 
a  Remonstrant.  His  whole  thoughts  were  borrowed 
from  the  ancient  Greek  and  Roman  world,  and  yet 
he  could  not  make  up  his  mind  for  love  of  Tessel- 
schade to  change  his  form  of  faith." 

"  It  is  ridiculous,"  added  Van  den  Ende,  taking 
up  his  daughter's  words;  "he  sang  all  the  stories  of 
the  Old  and  New  Testaments,  with  all  the  Greek 
and  Roman  mythology,  and  Arcadian  pastorals; 
he  could  not  say  a  word  without  parading  the 
whole  Olympus;  he  translated  even  his  own  love 
into  the  language  of  Horace." 

"  It  seems  to  me,  dear  father,"  said  Olympia, 
**  that  BarUuis  was  obliged  to  translate  all  his 
thoughts  into  Latin   in  order  to  understand  them 

302  SPINOZA, 

perfectly.  Herr  von  Spinoza,  you  must  read  his 
poems;  a  soul  overflowing  with  human  love  is  ex- 
pressed in  them.  He  had  a  Rubric  of  his  own, 
Tessaltca,  in  which  he  sang  to  his  mistress  as  she 
sat  her  horse,  and  as  she  sang  to  her  harp,  to  her 
ruff  and  her  string  of  pearls;  everything  of  hers 
inspired  him  to  poetise.      In  one  ode  he  sang, 

Tessela  quae  coelo  potes  deducere  lunam, 
Et  tetricos  cantu  demeruisse  Deos — * 

Do  you  understand  the  pun  by  which  he  changed 
the  name  Tesseischade  into  Tessela?" 


"  In  the  second  Idyl  of  Theocritus  Tessela  is  an 
infallible  love-charm,  the  name  was  given  to  the 
plant  from  which  the  philter  was  prepared,  but  we 
do  not  know  the  plant  itself." 

"You  will  always  and  forever  be  my  instruc- 
tress," said  Spinoza. 

"  Will  you  not,  when  you  have  found  out  how, 
instruct  us  in  magic  ?"  inquired  Kerkering. 

"  You  are  already  an  enchanted  prince,"  replied 
Olympia.  "  Herr  von  Spinoza,  do  you  believe  in 

"  In  yours,"  he  replied  hastily.  Oldenburg  shook 
his  head  disapprovingly. 

"You  have  forgotten  one  main  point  in  the  love 

*  Tessela,  thou  canst  draw  down  the  moon  from  Heaven 
with  thy  songs,  and  bind  the  gods  of  darkness  with  gratitude. 



Story  of  Barlaus,"  he  said.  ''  Do  you  recollect  that, 
in  the  epistle  dedicatory  prefixed  to  his  poems,  he 
maintains  that  the  three  L's  are  incompatible  with 
matrimony,  Libri,  Liberi  and  Libei'tas^  as  they  do 
not  co-operate  well  ?  •  Poor  fellow,  he  wrote  epi- 
thalamiums  for  all  the  world,  and  could  not  have  a 
wedding  of  his  own." 

"  He  wrote  a  lovely  Carmen  on  the  wedding  of 
my  Uncle  Overbeck,  in  Hamburg,"  Kerkering 
threw  in.     Oldenburg  continued: 

"If  a  truly  sublime  and  thoroughly  poetic  soul 
had  dwelt  in  Barlaus,  and  the  professor  not  peeped 
out  from  every  hole  and  corner  in  him,  the  denied 
possession  of  his  Tesselschade  and  his  own  pure 
love  for  her  alone  might  have  made  him  become 
as  a  fragrant  garden  of  heavenly  poetic  bloom.  If 
Dante  had  embraced  his  Beatrice,  if  Laura  had 
cooked  bread-soup  for  Petrarch,  never  would  the 
one  have  raised  himself  to  be  the  Homer  of  the 
Christian  cosmography  by  his  immortal  canzones, 
and  the  eternal  harmony  of  Petrarch's  sonnets 
would  have  been  drowned  in  the  cries  of  fretful 
children.  Poetry  is  not  the  vulture  of  fable  that 
perpetually  consumes  life;  it  is  the  flame  from  which 
the  phoenix  springs  rejuvenescent,  and  with  unin- 
jured flight  soars  heavenward.  For  individual  men, 
as  well  as  for  struggling  humanity,  the  highest  pos- 
session would  be  disgust  and  death,  or  happy  deli- 

304  SPINOZA. 

"What!  can  this  be  Herr  Oldenburg?"  asked 
Olympia  in  astonishment. 

"  That  is  a  very  original  idea.  Then  monks  and 
nuns,  in  their  self-renunciation,  are  the  chosen 
army  of  poets." 

"  You  want  to  put  me  in  the  wrong  by  a  clever 
sophistry,"  answered  Oldenburg,  "  but  I  am  not  so 
stupid.  I  only  affirm  that  a  man  of  truly  great 
mind  must  not  cling  with  his  whole  vitality  to  any 
one  arbitrarily  idealized  person;  if  he  does  so  he 
has  fallen  from  God  to  man,  and  he  dies  the  death 
of  a  man,  for  he  is  coffined  between  the  hard  boards 
of  every-day  regrets  and  necessities.  Ay,  even 
could  he  be  free,  and  find  his  self-created  ideal  real- 
ized, he  would  be  obliged  to  fly  from  it." 

"  I  am  also  of  your  opinion,"  said  old  Van  den 
Ende;  "the  gods  could  not  have  more  effectually 
punished  Pygmalion  than  when  they  granted  his 
prayer.     Such  a  marriage  must  be  barren." 

"There  are  no  ideals  on  earth  and  can  be  none," 
said  Oldenburg  in  an  animated  tone;  "foolish  is  he 
who  seeks  such,  and  still  more  foolish  is  he  who  be- 
lieves he  has  found  them.  They  may  live  in  us, 
and  hover  above  us  in  glorified  memories.  How 
infinitely  great  is  Dante  when  he  sings  his  pure, 
refined  love  !" 

"  There  was  a  time  when  you  thought  otherwise," 
said  Olympia. 

"  T  think  so  still.     I  myself  have  no  claim  to  the 


highest  crown  of  humanity;  as  I  am  live  thousands 
of  the  great  multitude;  I  must  surrender  myself 
prisoner.  But  if  I  see  a  friend,  gifted  with  an  ex- 
alted and  commanding  mind,  letting  himself  be 
imprisoned  within  the  four  walls  of  commonplace, 
bowing  his  great  mind  to  serve  a  self-created  idol, 
I  would  spurn  him  from  me;  for  he  thus  becomes 
a  traitor  to  the  greatness  and  majesty  of  his  call- 
ing; but  if  he  can  keep  that  ideal,  which  has  never 
perfectly  appeared  to  his  consciousness,  pure  and 
high,  I  esteem  him  happy." 

"A  sad  martyrdom  it  is  to  which  you  condemn 
the  higher  minds,"  said  Olympia. 

The  shades  of  night  were  falling;  they  separated. 

Spinoza  accompanied  Olympia  home.  She  hung 
on  his  arm.  He  did  not  know  how  he  had  gained 
courage  and  good  fortune  for  such  close  commu- 
nion. Old  Van  den  Ende  took  care  of  Cecilia. 
Olympia  and  Spinoza  followed  in  silence.  When 
they  came  to  the  roadside  house  Olympia  said: 

"  Look,  there  is  the  well  in  which  the  weak,  good- 
natured  Barläus  drank  his  death.  Would  it  not  have 
been  more  reasonable  and  manly  to  give  up  his 
faith  than  his  life  ?" 

"  We  have  not  given  ourselves  either  faith  or  life," 
answered  Spinoza.  "  Suicide  of  either  one  or  the 
other  is  cowardly  and  weak;  strength  lies  in  bear- 
ing one  and  the  other;  deny  yourself  for  them,  or 
learn  to  free  them."     Olympia  was  silent. 

3o6  SPINOZA. 

"This  diplomatic  obtrusive  mediation  enrages 
me,"  she  said  after  a  pause,  "  that  Oldenburg 
thought  to  effect  so  artfully  to-day.  A  third,  who 
disturbs  a  tender  relation  with  a  word,  originates 
estrangements  and  misunderstandings  which  but 
for  him  would  never  have  arisen,  or  would  much 
sooner  have  been  extinguished." 

"  I  am  glad  you  think  so,"  said  Spinoza,  and  bit 
his  lips  in  violent  mental  conflict.  "  Dear  Olympia," 
he  continued,  "  I  have  struggled  with  all  my  might, 
but  I  am  not  so  strong  as  you  think.  I  fall  if  you 
do  not  grant  me  your  hand,  or  rather  if  you  do  not 
withdraw  it  from  me.  I  cannot  say  the  word  that 
my  heart  would  speak  to  you,  but  I  conjure  you, 
send  me  from  you;  never,  never  must  we  belong  to 
one  another." 

Olympia  pressed  his  arm  closer  to  her,  her  voice 
trembled,  both  hands  were  clasped. 

"What!"  she  asked.  "Why  not?  Have  we 
nailed  Christ  to  the  cross?  What  does  it  matter  to 
us  what  a  fanatical  crowd  did  thousands  of  years 
ago  ?  Have  you  risen  to  such  a  height  of  intellect 
to  be  frightened  by  a  form  to  which  men  have 
bound  themselves  ?  Have  you  not  told  me  a  hun- 
dred times  you  loved  and  reverenced  the  spirit  of 
Christ  as  that  of  the  Saviour  of  the  world  ?  Would 
to  God  our  relative  positions  were  reversed!  Joy- 
fully would  I  follow  you  to  the  altar.  Where  love  is 


perjury  cannot  be.     Or  shall  I  hasten  to  the  syna- 
gogue, and  be  baptized  by  the  Rabbis  ?" 

"  Dear  Olympia,  if  you  but  knew  the  force  of  the 
pain  which  now  rends  my  heart  you  would  not 
speak  to  me  so.  It  would  be  perjury,  naught  else, 
if  I  swore  to  accept  knowingly  any  other  faith. 
Thanks  to  progressive  development  I  can  declare 
myself  free  from  the  form  of  faith  into  which  I  was 
born,  and  can  build  up  for  myself  a  view  of  higher 
things  as  nature  gives  the  hand  to  my  powers  of 
mind.  I  can  and  will  be  withheld  by  no  personal 
consideration  from  speaking  out,  and  living  accord- 
ing to  my  convictions  of  faith  and  opinion;  a  reli- 
gious community  in  which  I  have  been  placed  by 
chance  of  birth  cannot  hinder  me  therefrom.  But 
it  is  otherwise  wilfully  to  entersuch.  The  new  com- 
munity could  justly  ask  me,  What  draws  you  to  us 
if  it  is  not  Truth  ?  You  have  no  longer  a  claim  to 
influence  in  the  old,  or  in  the  newly  accepted  sanc- 
tuary. I  know  the  sophisms  well  enough  that  are 
suggested  to  us:  you  merely  follow  the  form,  your 
intellect  is  still  free.  But  it  is  and  ever  will  be  per- 
jury, and  durst  I,  a  perjurer,  ever  take  the  word 
truuh  on  my  lips  without  blushing  ?  My  unhappy 
countryman  Uriel  Acosta,  of  whom  I  have  told  you 
before,  thus  ended  his  life  by  a  dreadful  suicide, 
because  he  had  already  commit.ted  tlie  suicide  of 
his   intellect    by  recantation.     He   must  have   ap- 

3o8  SPINOZA. 

peared  to  himself  despicable,  and  unworthy  of  life 
in  face  of  that  truth.  Yes  and  no  were  worth 
nothing  to  him;  they  had  become  meaningless." 
Olympia  was  silent;  she  pressed  one  hand  to  her 
eyes,  and  allowed  herself  to  be  blindly  led  by 
Spinoza.     He  continued  in  an  agitated  voice: 

"  I  return  your  question:  Have  we  thus  climbed 
these  heights  of  intelligence  to  aWow  ourselves  to 
be  conquered  by  an  inclination  which  must  be  the 
source  of  infinite  trouble  to  us  ?  I  fought  long,  but 
I  must  at  last  speak  to  you  frankly  and  honorably; 
from  this  hour  henceforward  let  us  forget  and  lay 
aside  all  that  we  were  to  each  other  and  that  we 
wished  to  be.  It  is  yet  time.  Separation  and  a 
strong  will  may  enable  us  again  to  find  peace.  We 
have  loved,  that  is  enough.  Seek  with  another  the 
happiness  I  dare  not  offer,  cannot  offer." 

His  tongue  refused  to  go  on;  he  was  obliged  to 
stop.     Olympia's  hand  trembled  in  his. 

"  I  am  not  ashamed  to  confess  I  have  thought  it 
over,"  said  she.  "  You  can  become  a  Christian 
without  any  denial  of  your  convictions;  I  have  even 
consulted  the  passage  for  you.  Do  you  know  that 
the  root  of  your  new  views  lies  in  the  words  of 
John  ?  '  Hereby  we  know  that  we  dwell  in  Him 
and  He  in  us,  because  He  hath  given  us  of  His 
spirit.'  Indeed,  without  any  inconsistency  you 
must  be  a  Christian." 

"  Why  do   you  not   quote  the  preceding  verse," 

|Wj  -^^ 



answered  Spinoza,  "  which  has  so  close  an  applica- 
tion to  our  case?  'If  we  love  one  another  God 
dwelleth  in  us,  and  his  love  is  perfected  in  us.' 
But  reflect;  if  some  results  of  my  process  of  thought 
agree  with  the  Christian  views  of  the  world,  must 
I  therefore  swear  to  the  Church  creed  ?  Perhaps 
that  would  be  the  result  contemplated  by  Justus 
Lipsius,  who,  as  you  know,  wrote  a  book  called 
De  Constantia  (on  constancy),  and  changed  his  faith 
every  two  years." 

"  I  thought  you  were  more  independent,  but  I 
see  Oldenburg  has  perverted  you  too,"  said  Olympia 
in  a  cutting  tone.  "  You  strive  after  the  glory  of 
Dante,  but  I  am  no  Beatrice,  and  will  not  be.  Oh, 
it  is  too  bad  !  You  will  throw  yourself  into  active 
life;  a  youthful  affection  is  easily  forgotten  then. 
Perhaps  you  will  jest  over  it,  while  I — what  does 
it  matter  if  I  fade  away  in  grief  ?" 

*'Dear  Olympia,"  interposed  Spinoza,  "  your  own 
heart  must  blame  you  for  such  words.  Reflect  a 
moment;  what  could  1  offer  you  ?  Nothing  but  a 
poverty-stricken  life  of  self-denial.  If  I  could  for- 
swear the  faith  of  my  fathers,  if  I  could  live  wholly 
for  you  alone — be  wholly  yours  .      ." 

"  Schalom  Alechem,  Rabbi  Baruch,  you  need  not 
be  in  haste.  Maariph  *  is  ended,''  a  harsh  voice 
interrupted    their    conversation.       Spmoza   turned 

*  Evening  prayer  in  the  synagogfue. 



round;  it  was  Chisdai,  who,  without  awaiting  a 
response,  went  on  shaking  his  head. 

"  Did  that  man  hear  what  I  said  ?"  asked  Spi- 

"  I  think  not,"  answered  Olympia;  "but  it  is  hor- 
rible that  such  Medusa  faces  can  speak  familiarly 
to  you.  That  decide^  it;  a  higher  duty  has  its 
claims.  I  will  not  desert  you.  I  hate  renunciation; 
it  is  nothing  but  hypocritical  cowardice;  it  would 
be  unworthy  of  yourself  and  of  me." 

They  had  arrived  at  the  Van  den  Ende's  house. 
Spinoza  would  have  taken  his  leave. 

"You  must  come  in  with  us,"  said  Olympia. 
"  You  can  hardly  imagine  how  dreary  it  seems  to 
me  when  I  have  gone  through  great  agitation  of 
mind  out  of  doors  to  go  in  alone  where  the  familiar 
walls  seem  altered  and  strange.  Everything  is  a 
burden  to  me.  T  think  I  shall  die  of  restlessness 
and  inexpressible  longing.  Generally  I  then  play 
the  organ  until  I  find  rest  in  perfect  stupefaction. 
Come  in  with  me,  I  entreat  you.' 



CECILIA  was  praying  in  the  next  room  before 
her  crucifix.  Spinoza  sat  silently  near  Olym- 
pia; her  hand  rested  close  to  his,  but  he  did  not 
attempt  to  clasp  it.  Dreamily  and  reflectively  the 
two  lovers  looked  long  at  each  other  in  silence. 

"  When  I  am  so  exalted  to  the  very  highest  point 
of  rapturous  spiritual  emjoyment,"  said  Olympia, 
"  I  feel  nothing  but  longing  for  death.  Now,  borne 
so  far  above  all  small  annoyances,  now  I  would 
that  I  might  die.  So  near  and  akin  to  the  Highest, 
I  should  be  absorbed  into  his  being." 
.  "  Formerly,  when  I  was  still  capable  of  such  re- 
ligious raptures,  I  was  often  possessed  by  such  a 
desire  for  death,"  replied  Spinoza.  "We  might, 
perhaps,  find  the  explanation  of  this  sensation  in 
the  Talmudist  legend  that  Moses  died  of  a  kiss,  in 
that  God  the  Lord  recalled  his  soul  to  himself  in 
a  kiss." 

Olympia  was  taken  by  surprise  at  this  strange 
turn.  Was  this  mind  always  absorbed  in  its  inves- 
tigations, or  did  he  .wish  by  such  parables  to  veil 
the  ardent  wish  of  his  heart,  and  yet  to  explain  it  ? 
Formerly  their  exchange  of  thoughts  had  been  easy; 

312  SPINOZA. 

now  they  sat  mutely  together  and  did  not  know 
what  to  say  to  one  another.  At  Spinoza's  desire 
Olympia  sang  the  ballad  he  had  surprised  her 
while  singing  the  first  time  he  saw  her.  She  sang 
the  refrain 

"  You  are  my  own  true  wife, 
No  other  shall  be  my  own  for  life" 

with  such  melting  tenderness,  and  drew  out  the 
notes  of  the  organ  by  which  she  accompanied  her- 
self into  such  long-drawn  sighs  that  Spinoza  pain- 
fully missed  the  repose  which  the  song  had  once 
given  to  his  agitated  heart.  It  was  with  difficulty 
that  he  refrained  from  clasping  her  to  him  and 
sealing  the  melodious  spring  of  song  with  a  kiss. 
He  could  trust  himself  no  longer,  so  he  took  his 
hat  and  went  away.  Olympia  took  the  lamp  and 
lighted  him  down  the  steps,  but  without  a  word. 
Below  Spinoza  held  out  his  hand;  she  laid  her  curly 
head  on  his  breast;  he  embraced  her;  her  heart 
beat  violently  under  his  hand. 

"Dear  Olympia,"  he  said,  "I  conjure  you  by  all 
that  is  holy, love  me  not;   I  am  not  worthy  of  it." 

*4  must  love  you,"  she  said.  "Command  my 
heart  to  cease  beating.  I  cannot  leave  you  !"  Her 
voice  trembled;  he  pressed  her  closer  to  his  breast, 
and  held  her  fast  with  an  ardent  kiss.  He  then 
tore  himself  from  her  embrace  and  rushed  out. 
Olympia  sprang  warbling  up  the  steps  and  cried  in 



a   sprightly    voice,    ''  Good    night,  Herr   von    Spi- 


He  stood  before  the  house;  the  door  shut  behind 
him.  With  heavy  sighs  passed  care-laden  married 
couples  who  endeavored  to  enjoy  the  holiday  even- 
ing in  the  fresh  air;  lovers  passed  with  quicker 
steps  and  livelier  conversation;  sailors  sauntered 
on  and  merrily  sang  and  chorused  the  old  Dutch 

**  To  eastern  lands  will  I  journey, 
There  dwells  my  sweetest  love; 
Over  hill,  and  over  valley, 
Far  over  the  moorland, 
There  dwells  my  sweetest  love. 

"  The  sun  from  sight  has  sunk  under; 
The  stars  now  blink  out  so  clear; 
I  know  that  I  with  my  loved  one, 
Far  over  the  moorland, 
Was  in  that  orchard  so  near. 

**  The  garden  door  is  fastened. 
And  no  one  can  come  in, 
But  the  nightingales  only, 
Far  over  the  moorland, 
Who  fly  from  far  to  come  in. 

**  We  must  the  nightingales  fasten 
Their  heads  to  their  feet  close  to. 
That  they  may  tell  naught  to  others, 
Far  over  the  moorland, 
Of  what  two  sweet  lovers  there  do. 

3 14  SPINOZA. 

"  And  though  you  had  thus  bound  me. 
My  heart  is  not  the  less  sound; 
So  thus  I  can  yet  prattle, 
Far  over  the  moorland, 
Of  two  sweetest  lovers'  death-wound." 

•    It  was  a  varied  throng.    Spinoza  hardly  noticed  it. 

"Women's  ways  are  indeed  unfathomable!"  he 
said  to  himself.  "  Did  she  not  feel  the  infinite 
depth  of  that  moment  ?  Or  did  she  act  with  such 
apparent  indifference  to  all  that  had  passed  to  hide 
it  quickly  from  Cecilia  ?  But  how  could  she  possi- 
bly do  it?" 

He  could  not  go  home  in  such  agitation  of  mind; 
he  crossed  the  street,  and  sat  down  on  the  steps  of 
the  chapel  of  St.  Olave's.  He  looked  across  at 
Olympia's  lighted  windows,  and  often  saw  her 
shadow  pass  backwards  and  forwards  until  the 
light  was  extinguished.  He  was  almost  ashamed 
of  himself,  gazing  at  the  windows  of  his  beloved 
like  a  sentimental  knight,  and  laughed  internally 
as  Tessala  occurred  to  him. 

"  I  cannot  leave  you,  say  you.  I  will  not,  I  dare 
not  leave  you,  I  tell  you;  have  I  not  pressed  your 
coy,  pure  lips  to  mine  ?  You  are  mine,  mine  for- 
ever. Was  not  my  mother  a  Moslem,  and  changed 
to  our  faith  ?  Should  I  have  remained  a  Moslem  if 
by  chance  I  had  been  born  such  ?  But  thy  father 
and  mother  loved  each  other  wholly  and  uncon- 
trollably at  first  sight,  and   as  to  thee,  dost  thou 



think  Olympia  faultless  ?  Hast  thou  not,  flattered 
by  her  wild  charms,  persuaded  thyself  into  a  con- 
nection that  at  first  appeared  to  thee  so  objection- 
able ?  A  love  that  must  overcome  doubt  is  greater 
and  more  enduring  than  that  other  that  seems  as 
if  fallen  from  Heaven;  it  is  intellectual  love.  Thou 
wouldst  picture  to  thyself  a  life  of  self-denial.  Away 
with  it!  She  loves  thee,  and  at  her  side  thou  wilt 
find  renown  and  happiness,  honor  and  joy.  What 
will  give  me  back  the  pleasures  that  I  would  cast 
from  me  for  the  sake  of  truth  ?  Truth  !  But  must 
I  be  her  slave  ?  I  alone,  of  so  many  thousands, 
condemn  myself  to  give  up  my  inborn  right  to  the 
gay  pleasures  of  life  ?  I  will  deck  truth  with  the 
figleaf  of  orthodoxy,  will  choose  words  with  double 
»meanings  to  save  superstition;  should  I  not  thus 
serve  truth  still  more  ?  Thou  wouldst  serve  her  by 
lies.  No,  I  would  never  speak  against  my  convic- 
tions, but  only  shut  them  close  in  my  breast.  And 
the  CathcMc  confession  of  faith  ?  Olympia  loves 
me;  must  I  not  save  her?  Some  day  in  happier 
times  it  may  be  otherwise,  but  now  I  must  obey 
the  times.  And  thy  father  and  Geronimo — they 
were  believing  Jews,  but  thou  ?" 

Such  thoughts  disturbed  Spinoza's  mind,  to  which 
the  ever-returning  chime  at  the  quarter  hours  in  the 
quiet  night  made  a  singular  accompaniment.  To 
him  life  was  not  measured  by  the  notes  from  the 
church  tower. 

3l6  SPINOZA, 

Is  no  other  way  to  be  found  ?  .  .  .  . 

He  must  have  sat  there  a  long  time,  for  towards 
midnight  Maessen  Blutzaufer  and  Flyns,  arm  in  arm 
like  two  powers  holding  each  other  in  equipoise, 
reeling  homewards,  jested  over  the  poor  sinner, 
who,  instead  of  seeking  his  mistress,  cowered  there 
in  the  cold  night  on  the  hard  stones.  Spinoza  no- 
ticed nothing  of  what  went  on  around  him.  At  last 
he  stood  up,  and  when  he  looked  at  the  place  in 
which  he  had  remained  so  long  he  was  forced  to 
laugh  against  his  will;  it  was  the  church  built  on 
the  model  of  the  Temple  of  Jerusalem. 

"  Sleep  sweetly,"  he  said  to  himself,  as  he  looked 
at  Olympia's  window.  "  I  have  watched  over  thee; 
thou  shalt  rest  ever  at  my  side." 

The  bells  rang  loudly,  the  organ  resounded 
through  the  whole  building,  an  innumerable  throng 
filled  the  Catholic  cathedral.  Spinoza  stood  be- 
fore the  altar  between  Dr.  Van  den  Ende  and  his 
daughter.  Olympia  w^as  in  bridal  attire.  Above, 
in  the  gallery,  stood  Spinoza's  father,  his  garments 
rent,  his  countenance  pale  and  stony.  High  mass 
began.  Cecilia  and  Olympia  knelt  down.  Van  den 
Ende  and  Spinoza  followed  their  example.  Chisdai 
and  the  skeleton  of  the  fat  Domine  were  dressed  as 
acolytes.  Chisdai  swung  the  censer,  and  whenever 
he  made  the  sign  of  the  cross  on  his  brow,  his  fin- 
gers caught  on  the  bridge  of  his  nose;  and  when  the 
skeleton  did  likewise,  his  fleshless  fingers  stuck  in. 


the  hole  in  which  his  nose  once  had  been;  and  when 
they  rang  the  bell,  his  bare  ribs  clattered  like  dry 
poppy-heads  shaken  by  the  w^ind.  High  mass  was 
ended.  Spinoza  advanced  alone,  and  knelt  before 
the  priest  on  the  steps  of  the  altar.  He  cursed  the 
mother  who  bore  him,  and  the  father  who  had  be- 
gotten him,  because  they  had  not  taken  him  from  his 
birth  to  the  bosom  of  the  one  saving  faith.  A  cry  of 
grief  was  heard  from  the  gallery,  and  a  corpse  was 
carried  out.  Spinoza  repeated  the  creed  in  a  low 
voice,  inaudible  to  all  but  the  priest.  The  priest  laid 
both  hands  on  the  head  of  the  candidate,  blessed 
him  gently,  and  sprinkled  his  brow  three  times 
with  holy  water.  The  organ  broke  out  in  joyous 

''  Baruch,  Baruch  !"  it  now  cried,  "get  up  !"  It 
was  only  a  dream.  Spinoza  lay  in  his  bed,  and  old 
Chaje  stood  before  him  with  a  light.  He  passed 
his  hand  over  his  brow;  it  was  wet  with  cold  per- 

"  What  is  the  matter  ?"  he  asked. 

"  Your  father  is  dying;  it  would  break  the  heart 
of  a  stone  !  The  men  from  the  neighborhood  are 
already  below." 

Baruch  sprang  hastily  out  of  bed,  dressed  as  much 
as  was  absolutely  necessary,  and  ran  down  stairs; 
his  father  must  already  be  very  bad,  for  he  heard 
the  men  chant  in  loud  chorus,  "  Hear,  O  Israel,  the 
Lord  our  God  is  one  God." 

3l8  SPINOZA. 

As  he  entered  the  room  his  father  was  repeating 
the  conclusion  of  the  prayer: 

"Master  of  the  world!  Lord  of  pardon  and 
mercy,  it  is  by  thy  grace,  my  God  and  my  fathers' 
God,  that  my  thoughts  mount  to  the  throne  of  thy 
glory,  to  thy  goodness  !  Look  on  my  trouble,  for 
because  of  thine  anger  there  is  no  soundness  in  my 
flesh,  neither  is  there  any  rest  in  my  bones  be- 
cause of  my  sin.  Now,  O  God  of  pardon,  grant 
me  thy  grace,  and  go  not  into  judgment  with  thy 
servant.  If  this  be  indeed  my  hour  of' death,  may 
the  knowledge  of  thy  Unity  not  leave  my  lips,  as 
it  is  written  in  thy  scriptures,  '  Hear,  O  Israel, 
the  Lord  our  God  is  one  God  ! '  I  confess  before 
thee,  Eternal  One,  my  God  and  the  God  of  my 
fathers,  God  of  all  spirit  and  flesh,  that  my  re- 
covery and  my  death  are  in  thy  power.  It  would 
be  by  thy  mercy  if  thou  shouldst  allow  me  per- 
fect recovery,  and  my  thoughts  and  my  prayers 
should  mount  unto  thee  like  the  prayer  of  Heze- 
kiah  in  his  sickness.  But  if  the  hour  of  my  death 
be  indeed  come,  may  my  death  be  the  atonement 
for  all  the  sins  of  omission  and  commission  which 
I  have  sinned  and  committed  in  thy  sight  from 
the  day  of  my  birth.  Give  me  my  share  in  the 
Garden  of  Eden,  and  console  me  in  the  future 
world  reserved  for  the  pious.  Show  me  the  way  of 
Life,  make  me  full  of  joy  before  thy  face,  for  at 
thy  right  hand  are  eternity  and  glory.       Praised 



be  thou,  Eternal,  Hearer  of  prayers.  Into  thy 
hands,  O  Lord,  I  commend  my  spirit.  Thou  wilt 
save  me,  Eternal  God  of  truth." 

Baruch  sat  down  at  the  bedside  of  his  father 
whose  breath  came  with  ever-increasing  difficulty; 
he  clasped  his  son's  hand  whose  fever  heat  the  cold 
hand  of  death  could  not  cool. 

"  Father !"  cried  Baruch;  he  could  say  no  more. 

"  Pray  for  me,  my  son,"  said  his  father  gently. 
The  rattle  became  ever  louder,  every  instant  they 
thought  his  breath  must  stop;  all  those  assembled 
cried  incessantly: 

"  Hear,  O  Israel,  the  Lord  our  God  is  one  God  !" 

The  sick  man  prayed  with  them.  He  raised  his 
eyes  to  Heaven,  and  with  the  word  "  one"  he  gave 
up  his  breath;  his  lips  still  pressed  together,  opened 
as  if  for  a  kiss — he  was  dead. 

Rabbi  Saul  Morteira  opened  a  window  as  a  sign 
that  the  soul  journeyed  to  Heaven,  and  all  present 
" "  Praised  be  the  Righteous  Judge  !" 

Baruch  sank  from  his  father's  bed  to  the  floor, 
and  pressed  the  dead  hand  to  his  hot  brow;  from 
above  in  another  chamber  echoed  the  half  sup- 
pressed lamentations  of  Miriam  and  Rebecca.  Those 
present  conversed  in  low  whispers,  and  were  just  on 
the  point  of  going  away,  when  some  one  was  heard 
to  mount  the  stairs  with  loud,  stumbling  haste.  The 
door  was  thrown  open. 

320  SPINOZA, 

"  Is  he  dead  ?"  inquired  a  voice. 

"  Hush,  silence,  Rabbi  Chisdai  !"  answered  those 

"Woe,  treble  woe  to  this  house  !"  cried  Chisdai. 
"  He  alone  could  have  yet  saved  his  Ben  sorer 
umoreh.^  I  heard  with  my  own  ears  that  he  meant 
to  turn  Christian,  and  marry  a  Christian  w^oman." 

'^  If  you  do  not  go  out  this  instant,"  answered 
Samuel  Casseres,  "  and  if  you  say  another  such  word 
against  my  brother-in-law,  I  will  show  you  the  way 
out.     No  one  invited  you." 

"  You  will  invite  me,  and  I  ^hall  not  come,"  an- 
swered Chisdai,  as  he  was  shouldered  out  by  the 

Benjamin  von  Spinoza  had  desired  in  his  will 
that  his  broken  old  Spanish  sword  should  be  laid 
in  the  grave  with  him;  the  Rabbis  objected  for 
some  time  to  fulfil  this- desire,  whose  meaning  but 
few  could  imagine.  Spinoza  was  obliged  to  bring 
forward  many  authorities  from  the  Talmud  before 
he  could  see  his  father's  wish  fulfilled.  Outside 
in  the  graveyard,  in  accordance  with  old  Jewish 
custom,  he  was  made  to  kneel  down  at  his  father's 
feet,  and  beg  forgiveness  from  God  and  his  father 
for  all  in  which  he  had  sinned  against  them;  then 
he  must  tear  his  garments  on  the  left  breast,  and 
when  the  coffin  was  lowered,  the  son  must  be  the 

*  Stubborn  and  rebellious  son. 



first  to  enter  the  grave,  and  throw  a  handful  of 
earth  thereon.  He  did  all  this  with  uncertain  step 
and  trembling  hand;  Chisdai  sprang  forward  to 
support  him. 

For  seven  long  days  Spinoza  was  obliged  to  sit 
on  the  ground  with  rent  garments  and  without 
shoes,  and  for  thirty  days  he  was  not  permitted  to 
shave  his  beard;  but  his  outward  appearance  was 
not  so  uncared  for  and  torn  as  his  inward  feelings. 
How  often  as  he  rested  his  elbows  on  his  knees, 
his  face  covered  with  his  hands,  how  often  he 
thought  of  Olympia.  What  would  become  of 
them  ? 

His  greatest  trial  was  a  visit  from  Oldenburg 
and  Meyer,  who  came  just  as  he  was  sitting  on  the 
ground  with  his  sisters,  and  the  Rabbis  were  chant- 
ing a  litany  or  sort  of  mass  for  the  dead  before  the 

He  thought  much  about  the  free,  unfettered  life 
he  would  make  for  himself.  Desire  for  rest  and 
contemplative  solitude  often  rose  in  him  like  an 
overwhelming  homesickness;  he  felt  imprisoned  by 
the  tumult  of  the  world  and  its  ways.  And  again 
he  saw  how  his  whole  former  life  had  been  beset 
by  difficulties.  He  would  strive  for  consistency; 
should  he  find  it  in  union  with  Olympia  or  not,  it 
was  at  least  a  painful  consolation  that  the  unmiti- 
gated opposition  of  his  father  no  longer  stood  be- 
tween them. 



SPINOZA  was  walking  thoughtfully  down  the 
Kalverstraat,  when  some  one  said,  "Ha,  ha! 
how  proud  we  are  !" 

Spinoza  turned  round;  it  was  Frau  Gertrui 
Ufmsand  who  was  looking  out  of  her  ground  floor 

^'  How  are  you  ?"  she  said.  *^  You  look  as  sour  as 
vinegar.  I  have  only  seen  you  once  in  this  street 
isince  Magister  Nigritius  died,  and  that  was  a  fort- 
night ago.  You  passed  with  Olympia  Tan  den 
Ende.  I  said  '  Good  evening '  twice,  but  you  were 
better  employed,  neither  of  you  either  heard  or  saw 
me.  Those  were  fine  times,  were  they  not,  when 
you  came  every  day  to  the  Magister  ?  But  you 
have  grown  twenty  years  older  since  those  days. 
Ah  !  we  have  gone  through  a  deal  with  our  apart- 
ments since  then.  First  we  had  a  painter,  who 
went  to  vespers  in  the  church  where  clinking 
glasses  are  the  bells,  then  he  would  come  home  a 
full  fool  and  awake  us  out  of  our  beauty  sleep. 
Then  we  had  a  widow  who  would  have  skinned  a 
flint,  and  looked  so  sharply  after  us  all  day  we 
could  hardly  breathe  before  her.     It  was  my  hus- 




band — he  is  a  queer  fellow — who  at  last  gave  her 
notice.  I  never  said  anything  to  her,  but  said  to 
my  Klaas,  'She  is  a  widow,  we  must  excuse  her.' 
The  beautifuljittle  room  has  now  stood  empty  for 
half  a  year,  and  we. have  just  had  it  fresh  painted; 
it  is  all  fresh  done  up,  and  looks  like  a  little  chapel. 
I  never  like  to  go  up  the  stairs  to  it." 

"  Geert,  be  so  good  as  to  shut  the  window,  the 
bits  all  fly  in  my  eyes.  If  you  want  to  talk  to  the 
gentleman,  go  out  and  let  him  in,"  cried  a  gruff 
voice  from  inside  the  room. 

"Come  in  for  a  bit,"  said  Gertrui  shutting  the 
window.  Spinoza  went  in  and  said  he  should  be 
glad  to  take  the  room,  as,  to  do  his  work,  he  must 
either  be  in  an  open  place  or  high  up  for  a  good 
light.  The  good  people  thought  at  first  he  was  jest- 
ing, and  were  greatly  rejoiced  when  they  found  he 
was  in  earnest.  Gertrui  showed  him  the  little 
room,  on  whose  floor  the  fine  sand  was  artistically 
sprinkled  like  a  lace  pattern.  The  little  bed  in  a 
recess,  like  the  berth  of  a  ship,  was  empty. 

"Look,"  said  the  woman,  "that  is  the  old 
Magister's  armchair;  I  washed  and  dusted  every- 
thing; there  is  not  a  speck  on  it  now.  I  can  find  you 
everything  but  a  bed;  I  use  all  my  beds  for  the  ap- 
prentices. Here  the  Magister  kept  his  books;  you* 
can  put  your  books  there  now.  Have  you  the 
same  bad  habit  as  the  blessed  Magister  of  laying 
all  your  books  in  sight  on   the   tables,  chairs  and 



stools,  and  not  letting  any  of  them  be  moved  with- 
out a  regular  storm?  Did  you  never  see  that 
beautiful  white  Amaryllis  that  the  blessed  Magister 
was  so  fond  of  ?  It  disappeared  from  the  day  of 
his  death,  though  such  animals  generally  stick  to  a 
house,  not  to  the  people  in  it.  I  would  give  a  good 
deal  to  see  it  back  again;  I  should  be  sorry  from  my 
heart  if  anything  happened  to  it.  Ay,  and  it  was  so 
knowing,  it  could  tell  to  a  minute  when  the  raw 
meat  was  brought,  and  we  were  never  bothered 
with  mxice." 

Spinoza  regretted  he  had  nowhere  seen  the 

If  we  have  again  given  too  much  space  to  the 
chatter  of  an  old  woman,  we  may  bear  with  her 
loquacity  a  little  in  consideration  of  the  motherly 
care  which  she  took  of  our  philosopher. 

Spinoza,  whose  two  brothers-in-law  found  them- 
selves deceived  in  their  expectations,  was  obliged 
to  take  legal  means  for  the  division  of  his  father's 
inheritance.  When  he  had  obtained  his  legal  rights 
he  voluntarily  gave  up  his  share,  keeping  only  a 
single  bed  with  its  necessary  hangings,  which  he 
had  taken  with  his  work-bench  and  his  few  books 
and  clothes  to  the  house' of  Klaas  Ufmsand.  Here 
at  last  he  was  permitted  to  order  his  outer  life  in 
perfect  conformity  with  the  requirements  of  his 
spiritual  nature.  The  serene  equanimity  derived 
from  conviction,  which  opposes  tranquil  delibera- 



tion  to  the  stormy  excitement  of  the  decisive 
moments  of  existence,  as  well  as  to  the  annoyances 
and  the  restless  struggles  of  every-day  life;  that 
self-dependence,  won  by  cheerful  renunciation  of 
the  intoxications  of  empty,  exhausting  pleasures; 
that  exaltation  and  satisfaction  in  the  kingdom  of 
intellect,  a  peace  of  mind  won  after  hot  conflict,  a 
clear  penetration  of  the  world,  whose  enigmas  were 
solved,  and  eternal  laws  discovered;  these  were  the 
benefits  which  he  made  ever  more  plainly  and 
firmly  his  own  in  solitude. 

From  early  morning  he  sat  working  at  his  bench. 
As  he  snipped  a  piece  from  his  glass  with  the  sharp 
diamond,  he  broke  an  idea  off  from  the  great  sys- 
tem that  lay  complete  though  undeveloped  in 
himself.  When  he  worked  the  leaden  plate  and  gave 
the  glass  its  proper  form  the  idea  in  him  gained 
firmer  shape,  and  so  on  through  all  the  stages; 
ever  more  distinct  the  form,  ever  more  transparent 
the  material.  Many  splinters  must  fall,  many  rough 
places  be  smoothed,  till  at  last  the  truth  should  be 
reflected  in  the  mirror.  When  he  had  earned  his 
bread  by  the  day's  handiwork,  in  the  quiet  night  by 
his  single  lamp  he  placed  his  finely  polished  ideas 
before  him,  collected  the  dust  which  had  fallen 
from  them,  and  strewed  it  thereon,  that  they  be- 
came opaque;  then  with  a  light  hand  wiped  it  off, 
and  proved  that  it  did  not  necessarily  belong  there, 
and   that   he   had   but   hidden    the   light,  not   ex- 

326  SPINOZA. 

tinguished  it.  So  worked,  so  philosophized  Bene- 
dict de  Spinoza. 

Not  long  after  his  withdrawal  from  the  busy 
world  he  had  to  break  off  some  hours  a  day  from 
his  manual  labor  to  lead  a  younger  mind  in  the 
paths  of  philosophy.  Meyer  one  day  brought 
young  Simon  de  Vries  to  him,  who,  since  the  short 
view  we  had  of  him  before,  had  become  the  lucky 
heir  of  the  rich  results  of  his  father's  speculations 
in  tea,  and  now  gave  himself  up  to  quite  other 
speculations.  Spinoza  took  him  through  a  course 
on  the  principles  of  Descartes'  philosophy.  In  the 
same  room  where  he  had  once  learned  to  decline 
mensa,  in  the  same  chair  in  which  his  master  had 
once  sat  to  correct  his  exercises,  he  now  sat  to  teach 
the  philosophy  of  Descartes,  and  build  yet  higher 
on  the  same  foundation,  as  the  necessities  of  that 
method  required.  Honorable  Dodimus  de  Vries, 
who  had  once  been  able  to  do  quickly  the  most 
complicated  mental  arithmetic,  had  not  only  left  his 
numerous  and  weighty  ducats  to  his  son  Simon,  but 
also  his  arithmetical  readiness.  This  youthful  tal- 
ent for  mathematics  gave  Spinoza  much  pleasure. 

For  two  or  three  days  at  a  time,  and  often  much 
longer,  he  never  left  his  room.;  he  never  willingly 
left  the  familiar  solitude  in  which  he  felt  so  much 
at  ease,  in  which  the  hours  and  days  like  quiet 
streams  flowed  refreshingly  and  animatingly  past 


BTILL  LIFE,  327 

Good  Gertrui  was  very  uneasy  about  her  new 

"  I  don't  know,"  she  said,  "  whether  you  mean  to 
accustom  yourself  to  do  without  food,  or  whether 
the  ravens  from  Heaven  come  to  feed  you,  like  the 
prophet  in  the  wilderness;  you  cannot  possibly 
have  enough  with  what  you  have  from  me.  Yester- 
day you  had  nothing  all  day  long  but  milk  soup, 
some  butter  and  a  little  draught  of  beer  which 
with  the  water  and  turf  I  bought  comes  to  ^\ 
stivers,  and  to-day  you  have  been  satisfied  the 
whole  day  with  oat-meal  porridge,  raisins  and 
butter,  which  have  cost  exactly  the  same.  I  calcu- 
lated that  in  a  whole  month  you  have  only  at  the 
most  drunk  two  half  pints  of  wine.  That  is  neither 
living  nor  dying." 

Spinoza  tried  to  make  the  good  dame  under- 
stand that  his  earnings  would  not  suffice  for  greater 
expense,  and  that  he  was  quite  satisfied  with  his 
manner  of  living. 

"  Yes,"  she  said,  "  one  ought  only  to  stretch  one's 
self  according  to  one's  counterpane,  that  is  upright 
and  honest;  but  if  one  can  make  the  cover  longer, 
is  it  not  stupid  to  lie  doubled  under  it  like  a  shut- 
up  clasp-knife  ?  The  many  rich  and  great  gentle- 
men who  come  in  and  out  every  day,  I  know  v/ell 
enough,  would  be  well  pleased  to  give  you  more 
money.  It  would  not  be  like  taking  a  present;  they 
disturb  you  so  often  over  your  work  that  they  ought 

328  SPINOZA. 

to  make  it  good  again.  The  servant  of  rich  Simon 
de  Vries  has  now  been  here  three  times  to  invite 
you  to  his  house,  and  instead  of  going  there  to  eat 
fresh  pulpy  crabs,  that  melt  in  your  mouth  like 
butter,  you  stay  at  home  to  your  thin  milk-soup. 
Yet  for  the  rest  you  know  all  about  everything; 
one  can  come  and  talk  to  you  about  anything.  I 
can't  think  what  has  come  to  you  that  you  pinch 
yourself  so." 

The  good  dame  would  not  be  convinced  by  any 

"  Learned  folk  have  always  some  queer  notion 
or  another  in  their  heads,"  said  she,  as  she  de- 
scended the  stairs  and  told  Oldenburg,  whom  she 
met  there,  the  whole  dispute  with  variations.  Ol- 
denburg, too,  was  much  displeased  with  his  friend's 
voluntary  imprisonment  in  a  cell.  He  was  afraid 
that  such  seclusion  from  active  life,  such  silent 
burial  in  the  depths  of  his  thoughts  and  feelings, 
would  create  a  boundary  within  which  each  dis- 
turbing element  would  engender  a  sensitiveness  of 
feeling  which  would  reject  all  opposition,  because 
it  had  withdrawn  from  it.  He  knew  not  that  such 
weaknesses  of  tender  and  reserved  souls  are  far 
removed  from  great  and  steadfast  minds,  who  know 
no  partiality,  for  they  bear  the  whole  world  in  their 
hearts,  and  cannot  be  surprised  or  hurt  at  the  dis- 
cords of  the  outer  world,  because  they  have  pene- 
trated them,  and  to  themselves  have  reduced  all  to 



harmony.  Other  reasons  also  made  the  anxious 
friend  think  an  alteration  in  Spinoza's  way  of  life 
desirable.  Among  these  stood  first  the  fear  that 
Spinoza's  love  for  Olympia,  which  he  had  rightly 
guessed,  might  be  so  deeply  rooted  in  his  mind  by 
solitude  that  it  would  become  ineradicable.  He 
still  believed  that,  by  prudent  measures,  he  could 
enter  into  the  life  of  an  independent  mind  and 
direct  it. 

"  Our  age,"  he  once  said  to  Spinoza,  *'  the  age  of 
humanity,  new  born  from  the  classics  and  the  self- 
revelations  of  reason,  has  its  apostles,  who  travel 
through  all  lands  and  declare  their  new  ideas  like 
any  others.  When  Christianity  arose,  and  had  not 
yet  made  itself  accepted  anywhere,  pious  men  came 
forward  and  preached  in  all  places,  even  at  peril 
of  their  lives;  and  in  our  age  we  have  seen  enthu- 
siastic men  wander  from  town  to  town,  and  from 
land  to  land,  making  known  the  words  revealed  to 
them  in  all  places.  Think  of  Giordano  Bruno;  he 
has  travelled  through  almost  the  whole  civilized 
world  to  support  his  views  on  all  sides.  Unfortu- 
nately he  made  the  incomprehensible  mistake  of 
going  back  to  Italy  to  die  at  the  stake  as  a  martyr 
for  philosophy.  But  this  way  of  learning  to  know 
the  world  and  its  motives  and  connecting  forces 
from  personal  inspection,  and  placing  it  before  the 
intelligence  in  living  words,  not  trying  to  found 
and  rule  it  from  a  lonely  garret,  is  the  only  right 

330  SPINOZA. 

way  for  a  true  thinker.  Our  master,  or,  if  you  do 
not  like  to  call  him  that,  our  teacher,  Descartes, 
after  a  time  of  lonely  seclusion,  recognized  that  the 
truth  must  be  extracted  from  the  world  if  it  would 
again  pervade  the  world.  He  learned  to  know  men 
in  peace  and  war;  he  was  even  a  soldier  himself,  and 
travelled  much.  And  you  must  recognize  this  too 
as  a  revelation  of  our  age,  that  it  has  been  granted 
to  our  century  first,  in  artistic  recognition  of  silent 
nature,  to  open  the  mind's  eye  to  landscape.  You 
too  must  travel,  and  if  you  do  not  wish  to  teach 
the  world  you  must  at  least  learn  to  know  it  truly. 
You  shall  not  want  for  money;  de  Vries  and  I  will 
willingly  give  you  all  you  need.  You  must  not 
reject  it,  for  it  is  not  a  present  offered  to  a 
friend;  we  pay  this  tribute  to  science  and  man- 
kind. You  do  more  than  we;  you  dedicate  your 
life  to  it." 

"  If  you  please,"  answered  Spinoza  in  a  gentle 
voice,  "  if  you  do  not  intend  to  annoy  me,  let  this  be 
the  last  fime  that  you  make  me  offers  of  money.  I 
explained  to  you  and  de  Vries  long  ago  that  I 
could  not  accept  it.  Moreover,  as  far  as  I  am  con- 
cerned, I  cannot  endure  this  new  sort  of  wander- 
ing philosophy  which  you  so  strongly  recom.mend. 
I  am  no  friend  to  disputation  with  this,  that  and 
the  other  man,  and  seldom  see  any  advantage  ac- 
crue from  it;  for  what  is  opposed  is  usually  not  the 
expression  of  pure  thoughts,  but  such  personalities 

and  wilful  misinterpretationis  that  it  has  more  td-sdo 
with  Peter  and  Paul,  and  v^|iat  they  have  jj^öcome 
by  habit  and  inclination,  tharf^with  pure  intetlcfcti^* 

"Just  why  you  should  learn  tO^know  Petef  and 
Paul  more  intimately,  to  conquer  their  prejudices, 
and  personal  bias." 

"  I  wish  to  explore  and  ascertain  the  laws  of 
human  existence  and  intelligence.  I  have  often  ex- 
plained to  you  already  that  I  do  not  set  myself  to 
discover  the  errors  of  others.  If  these  are  revealed 
by  the  revelation  of  the  natural  law  so  much  the 
better.  You,  by  your  profession,  must  concern 
yourself  for  others;  to  me  it  is  given  to  search  in 
the  book  of  history  and  the  workings  of  my  own 

"  That  you  should  do,"  answered  Oldenburg, 
"and  to  do  so  you  should  investigate  the  world  in 
the  whole,  as  well  as  in  detail.  Let  me  take  your 
handiwork,  these  glasses,  as  a  metaphor.  Were  our 
eyes  microscopically  arranged,  we  should  look  at 
only  a  single  part,  never  at  a  whole;  were  our  eyes 
only  for  a  distant  prospect,  we  should  never  know 
the  peculiarities  of  things.  Thus  it  is  the  preroga- 
tive of  human  intellect  to  accommodate  by  art  both 
the  microscopic  and  telescopic  views  of  things  to 
its  own  assigned  natural  mediocrity;  and  in  con- 
clusion by  imagination,  by  thought,  to  recognize 
them  in  their  conditions;  but  this  the  large  and 
small   views   must   precede.     It   is   thus  with  our 

332  SPINOZA. 

knowledge  of  human  life.     So  travel  and  live  for 

"Leave  me  to  my  homely  four  walls,"  answered 
the  philosopher.  "  The  world  of  appearances  is  well 
enough  investigated  and  described  by  others  for  us 
to  follow  its  laws  by  quiet  observation.  I  am  ever 
myself  in  my  cell  here,  and  strive  to  collect  around 
me  all  the  spirits  of  truth.  Believe  me,  it  is  a 
numerous  and  goodly  company,  and  I  am  never 
alone  or  desolate;  and  if  I  am  alone  with  myself, 
I  can  investigate  more  quietly  and  uninterruptedly 
the  mingled  elements  and  connecting  links  of  the 
human  mind.  He  who  from  the  height  of  a  bird's 
flight  can  take  in  with  his  eye  how  one  stream 
flows  into  another,  and  at  last  all  flow  into  the  sea, 
can  see  no  more  than  is  offered  to  the  quiet  glance 
when  it  follows  the  inner  cross  currents  of  the  mind. 
Yes,  he  who  can  live  quietly  alone  with  his  own 
mind — with  a  mind  that  is  controlled  or  influenced 
by  nothing  foreign  to  itself — he  lives  again  in  Para- 
dise, happy  in  himself  and  in  the  universe." 

.  Oldenburg's  eyes  had  never  yet  sparkled  as  they 
did  now;  there  was  a  thrill  of  reverence  and  ecstasy 
perceptible  in  his  usually  firm  voice  and  in  his 
whole  deportment  as  he  rose  and  said: 

"  O  friend!  what  can  we  say  to  you  who  have  all 
things  in  yourself?  And  yet  perhaps  a  call  from 
without  may  yet  be  a  motive  to  you.  See,  it  is  not 
for  naught  that  the  legends  of  all  people  say  that 



gods  became  men,  allowing  themselves  to  be  con- 
fined by  the  limits  and  powers  of  human  existence, 
in  order  to  raise  themselves  freely  from  it,  and  raise 
others  with  them,  even  though  it  should  be  by  a 
death  of  torture.  You  too  must  offer  yourself  as  a 
sacrifice  by  following  the  call  of  the  truth  given  to 
you.  You  will  not  take  me  for  the  dying  thief  on 
the  cross,  and  I  will  only  echo  the  words  which  the 
world  may  say  of  your  life  and  thoughts:  if  you 
possess  knowledge  of  the  truth — they  will  say — 
and  if  you  are  its  open  and  unreserved  confessor, 
come  forth  from  your  quiet  solitude,  come  forth 
into  active  life,  declare,  and  suffer  for  it." 

With  his  hands  folded  on  his  breast  Spinoza  an- 

"  To  die  for  a  recognized  truth  is  blessedness  that 
knows  no  pain.  What  is  a  long  life  to  that  ecstasy 
which  existence  itself  and  the  devotion  of  it  to  the 
witness  of  truth  gives  could  it  but  convince  others? 
But  a  martyr's  death  proves  nothing  to  others. 
Men  have  gone  joyfully  to  death  for  the  most  op- 
posite convictions.  I  myself  once  knew  what  is 
called  a  believing  Jew,  who,  in  the  midst  of  the 
flames,  when  men  believed  him  already  dead, 
chanted  the  Psalm  '  Into  Thy  hands  I  commend 
my  spirit,'  and  breathed  out  his  soul  in  song. 
What  could  a  life  of  every  day  returning  duties, 
refinements  and  pleasures  prevail  against  the  one 
all-inclusive  act  of  devotion?     But  if  external  pres- 



sure  does  not  conquer  the  man  standing  firm  for 
his  knowledge  of  faith,  neither  does  his  death, 
which  is  after  all  only  an  external  proof,  convince 
others.  If  I,  as  I  hope,  may  one  day  so  far  have 
cultivated  myself  as  to  be  able  to  teach  others,  I 
shall  have  no  laws  to  give  them,  no  rounded  sen- 
tences to  inculcate;  each  one  must  find  his  laws  in 
himself  and  in  the  world.  The  recognition  of  the 
laws  innate  in  nature,  that  is  the  salvation  of  him- 
self and  of  the  world.  The  character,  the  conscious 
development  of  its  natural  laws,  the  appropriate 
direction  of  its  actions,  and  free  acceptance  of  the 
thus  necessitated  fate,  this  is  the  prerogative  of 
humanity,  which  cannot  be  taught  and  cannot  be 
transferred,  which  can  only  be  attained  by  individ- 
ual work  in  self." 

After  these  words  the  two  friends  stood  by  each 
other  in  silent  reflection,  and  on  this  elevation  of 
thought  they  again  felt  the  pleasure  of  regarding 
the  world  with  one  and  the  same  view.  Neither 
knew  or  wished  to  know  who  was  giver,  who  re- 
ceiver; they  were  one  soul  and  one  heart,  and  yet 
each  saw  himself  reflected  in  the  other.  As  Olden- 
burg went  away  he  felt  deeply  the  awe-inspiring 
power  his  friend's  mind  had  over  him.  It  seemed 
audacious  in  him  to  wish  to  control  here;  he  could 
but  give  his  hand,  and  lend  outward  support  to  the 
inner  independent  necessities.  He  felt  blessed  in 
the  power  for  such  masculine  friendship,  sprung 



from  the  foundation  of  pure  intellect,  that  had 
made  devotion  to  this  another  personal  pleasure. 

What^can  love  offer  more,  and  should  the  thinker, 
happy  in  himself,  not  be  satisfied  with  friendship 
alone?  Spinoza  felt  more  and  more  at  home  in  the 
peaceful  serenity  of  his  life,  whose  equable  happi- 
ness can  be  called  nothing  else  than  blessedness. 
For  the  exercise  of  the  intellect  in  solitude  is  the 
highest  felicity  of  life — near  to  the  eternal  sun, 
above  the  tumult  of  the  world,  above  the  clouds 
which  float  in  the  atmosphere  of  the  earth.  In 
solitude  life  is  explained;  there  no  cry  from  with- 
out is  possible,  nothing  to  break  the  stream  of  the 
thinking  existence.  And  what  first  appeared  as 
will  fortifies  itself  into  self-sustaining  endurance. 
Thoughts  flow  together  like  a  chorus  of  saved 
spirits  and  carry  the  physically  imprisoned  soul 
with  them.  Set  free  and  forgotten  is  the  mortal 
self,  and  life  becomes  thought. 

What  disturbs  in  the  present  and  in  uncongenial 
contact  wins  a  milder  meaning,  and  awakens  a 
gentle  conciliation  in  the  mind  that  is  inspired  by 
a  love  of  truth  and  rectitude,  and  that  no  reproach 
can  drag  down.  It  was  like  an  awakening  from 
that  unconscious  life,  which  yet  had  moved  in  the 
immaterial  paths  of  thought  to  the  inner  develop- 
ment of  himself,  and  the  consideration  of  himself, 
and  his  relation  to  the  outer  world. 

When  Spinoza  so  abstracted  himself  from  all  per- 

336  SPINOZA. 

sonal  considerations  in  the  pure  exercise  of  thought 
he  was  often  surprised  at  the  recollection  that  it 
was  some  days  since  he  had  seen  Olympia,  even 
since  he  had  thought  of  her,  and  yet  he  loved  her 
with  his  whole  heart.  It  was  not  stormy,  demon- 
strative love  with  its  overwhelming  passions;  it  was 
the  quietly  growing  inclination  whose  roots  rest  in 
conviction,  and  the  clear  knowledge  of  the  necessity 
of  the  relationship.  This  love,  however,  had  its 
surprises  and  enigmatical  self-torments  as  well  as 
any  other  which  is  torn  by  storms  of  passions. 
His  heart  throbbed  and  swelled  with  love  afresh 
whenever  he  went  to  Olympia's  house;  and  not 
seldom  he  left  it  with  an  agitated  mind,  which  only 
recovered  itself  in  his  beloved  solitude.  Would  he 
really  conquer  his  love  for  Olympia,  or  would  he 
merely  go  through  a  probation  with  it?  He  spoke 
more  than  ever  of  his  Judaism,  and  in  many  other 
ways,  indeed,  he  strove  to  place  himself  in  an  un- 
desirable light;  and  yet  he  was  pained  again  when 
he  appeared  to  have  gained  his  end,  and  Olympia — 
whether  from  coquetry  or  to  exercise  a  right  of 
retaliation — accorded  all  manner  of  trifling  favors 
to  the  light-haired  Kerkering,  by  which  he  felt  in 
the  highest  degree  honored,  and  became  yet  more 
settled  in  his  conviction  that  Spinoza  was  only  a 
man  of  straw  put  there  to  tease  him.  Since  that 
eventful  evening  the  two  lovers  had  not  conversed 
alone,  otherwise  misunderstandings  and   mistakes 



would  easily  have  been  explained;  but  even  exposed 
to  the  eyes  of  the  uninitiated  observers  they  en- 
joyed the  raptures  of  the  inexpressible  felicity  of 
love.  Often  as  their  lips  said  the  most  indifferent 
things  their  eyes  spoke  all  the  feelings  which  they 
fostered  in  secret,  hidden  for  one  another. 



THE  Jews  are  sounding  the  alarm  after  you; 
they  look  upon  you  as  a  deserter,  and  want  to 
bring  you  back  to  their  standard,"  said  Oldenburg 
to  Spinoza  as  he  entered  the  room  with  Meyer. 

*'  Don't  be  afraid,"  said  Meyer,  "  you  have  climbed 
so  high  above  them  that  they  will  be  out  of  breath 
before  they  catch  you." 

"How  would  it  be,"  continued  Oldenburg,  "if, 
while  they  are  in  pursuit,  you  enlisted  under  an- 
other flag,  and  dressed  yourself  in  another  uni- 
form ?" 

"  But  you  once  lauded  Turenne  for  not  doing 
so,"  answered  Spinoza,  "  and  I  should  not  know 
what  uniform  to  adopt." 

"You  are  right  there,"  said  Meyer;  "if  I  had  a 
uniform  to  cut  out  for  you  I  should  use  the  whole 
heavens  for  the  purpose,  and  hang  the  sun  and 
moon  on  your  breast  for  orders."  They  laughed, 
and  Oldenburg  began  again: 

"What  is  the  use  of  skirmishing?  We  must  take 
the  thing  by  the  throat.  Meyer,  from  his  hia- 
tro-mathematical  heights,  always  maintains  that 
the  efforts  of  reason  should  be  directed  towards  the 



rooting  out  of  all  dogmatic  creeds,  and  especially 
the  authority  of  the  Bible.  Luther,  he  says,  has 
overturned  traditional  creeds,  but  has  set  us  down 
on  the  barren  sand  of  mere  verbal  inspiration.  He 
even  quotes  you,  and  says  you  think  nothing  of  the 
prophets  or  sacred  history." 

"  If  he  does  he  is  wrong.  I  think  the  prophets, 
with  their  visions  and  inner  revelations,  which  we 
may  call  direct  divine  gifts,  may  probably  recog- 
nize the  truth  as  plainly  as  the  clearest  judgments 
of  reason.  It  is  only  because  the  former  remains 
on  the  lowest  step  of  perception  that  it  is  more  ex- 
posed to  error  than  pure  reason.  Theology  and 
philosophy  are  not  opposed  to  one  another;  they 
merely  rest  on  different  foundations.  I  am  con- 
vinced of  the  eternal  and  inextinguishable  utility 
of  the  so-called  sacred  histories  for  the  common 
people.  He  who  believes  in  them  and  rules  his  life 
in  accordance  has  succeeded  as  heir  to  a  great 
accumulation  of  truths  proved  by  experience,  to 
which  the  small  body  of  men  who  cannot  simply 
believe  in  them  can  only  attain  by  their  own  un- 
assisted powers  of  thought.  Both  are  fortunate, 
the  latter  the  most  fortunate,  because  they  them- 
selves discover  the  collected  laws  of  nature.  The 
Bible  cannot  pretend  to  such  universal  application, 
and  has  never  done  so;  it  is  a  slowly  accumulated 
work  which  includes  much  extraneous  matter;  its 
aims  are  not  learning  and  thought,  but  faith  and 



action;  and  that  is  why  we  ought  first  to  compre- 
hend how  we  can  create  anything  as  good,  and 
yet  more  definite,  by  our  own  innate  intellectual 

"  Look  there  !  There  is  my  *  original  sin  '  again," 
interrupted  Meyer.  "  Firstly,  they  say,  '  Human 
nature  is  originally  and  thoroughly  bad,  and  can- 
not understand  higher  things.'  Then  they  say  that 
'a- supernatural  revelation  is  necessary  to  save  them 
from  this  situation.'  They  cut  a  leg  off  human  na- 
ture and  triumphantly  exclaim,  *  Look,  it  cannot 
walk  or  stand  alone,  so  we  must  make  a  false  leg, 
and  look  after  its  joints  every  Sunday,  that  man- 
kind may  run  again  with  it  for  seven  days.' " 

"  Meyer,  you  are  always  trying  to  enrich  the 
inheritance  of  original  sin,"  said  Oldenburg.  Then, 
turning  to  Spinoza  he  continued,  "  Tell  me  openly, 
are  you  not  convinced  that  Judaism  is  obsolete  and 
narrow  ?" 

"  You  ask  a  great  deal;  but  I  must  first  repeat, 
that  no  creed  offers  us  that  true  felicity  which 
springs  only  from  knowledge  of  the  innate  neces- 
sities of  our  natural  laws.  As  things  are  now  no 
man,  whoever  he  may  be,  whether  Christian,  Turk, 
Jew,  or  heathen,  is  really  recognized  as  such,  but 
only  judged  according  to  his  manners  and  customs, 
because  he  goes  to  this  or  that  church,  clings  to 
this  or  that  expression,  or  swears  by  the  words  of 
this  or  that  master.     The  only  decisive  measure  at 


last  of  all  is  individual  character.  That  is  why  the 
professors  of  one  and  the  same  creed,  ay,  often  the 
professors  of  one  and  the  same  philosophical  system, 
incline  to  such  different  forms  of  individual  and 
social  life.  As  for  Judaism  now,  it  recognizes  a 
godly  life  quite  independent  of  the  revelation  of 
the  law.  Noah,  Abraham,  Isaac  and  Jacob  were  all 
esteemed  godly,  though  they  lived  long  before  the 
revelation  on  Sinai.  Moses,  by  means  of  his  sub- 
lime and  divine  gifts,  gave  the  law  to  the  people  as 
a  right,  as  a  constitution.  This  is  destroyed.  The 
primeval  right  to  found  divine  laws  on  individual 
recognition  appears  in  Judaism  too  with  universal 

"  The  Jews  always  appear  to  me  as  a  remarkable 
phenomenon  of  history,"  said  Meyer.  "  The  Jews 
must  exist  as  long  as  there  is  a  dogmatic  religion 
in  the  world.  The  wonderful  tenacity  with  which 
they  have  endured  the  most  fearful  blows  of  fate 
must  prove  that  their  mission  is  not  yet  fulfilled, 
and  that  in  the  course  of  history  they  will  once 
more  be  a  mighty  lever." 

"  Such  abnormal  developments  please  you,"  said 
Oldenburg,  and  Spinoza  replied: 

"  Nothing  is  abnormal;  everything  has  its  defi- 
nite cause,  from  which  it  must  arise  necessarily  and 
logically  in  its  destined  order.  If  the  ordinances 
of  their  religion  did  not  rob  them  of  their  man- 
liness, I  should  unhesitatingly  affirm  that  the  Jews, 



as  is  quite  possible  in  the  whirling  wheel  of  human 
affairs,  would  one  day,  when  the  opportunity  oc- 
curred, again  obtain  their  kingdom,  and  God  would 
choose  them  anew.  We  have  an  example  in  the 
Chinese,  who  have  again  won  their  kingdom.  But 
the  mission  of  the  Jews  is  fulfilled.  There  is  nothing 
wonderful  in  their  preservation;  it  is  only  the 
hatred  of  all  nations  that  has  preserved  them,  and 
they  have  set  themselves  apart  from  all  nations  by 
their  customs.  These  customs  may  disappear  like 
all  other  laws  of  ceremonial,  which  have  only  a 
local  signification,  and  the  hatred  of  the  nations 
may  change  to  love." 

"  I  should  be  proud  to  be  a  Jew,"  said  Meyer. 
*'  He  is  born  in  such  decided  opposition  to  all 
commonplace,  and  in  himself  represents  exactly  the 
schism  which  now  rends  the  heart  of  humanity. 
The  free  Jew,  who  has  cut  loose  from  his  own 
already  torn  traditions  is  the  only  unbiassed 
stranger  in  the  world,  armed  with  all  the  weapons 
of  the  masculine  intellect,  and  yet  with  the  un- 
clouded eyes  of  childhood,  capable  of  examining 
and  surveying  the  world  as  given  in  history;  a 
privilege  and  a  freedom  none  other  can  attain  to 
as  easily.  We  others  have  too  much  share  in  the 
ruling  of  the  world,  and  too  much  partiality  for 
and  familiarity  with  it.  And  already  in  the  great 
current  of  history  it  is  seen  that  the  renewing  of 
the  whole  world  has  not  been  done  by  the  domi- 
nate.      \-- 


nant  nations.  Neither  a  Greek  nor  a  Roman  pro- 
duced the  new  world-saving  doctrine;  it  came  from 
the  despised,  oppressed  people,  who  were  shut  out 
from  the  world's  current.  In  ancient  times  men 
lived  in  perfect  uniformity  of  faith;  the  religion 
was  the  constitution,  the  constitution  was  the  re- 
ligion. It  was  so  in  Rome  and  Athens,  in  Egypt 
and  China,  and  most  perfectly  so  in  Palestine. 
With  the  destruction  of  the  Jewish  state  and  the 
entrance  of  Christianity  originated  religion  as  such, 
for  it  was  then  first  cut  loose  from  the  state. 
There  were  henceforward  two  powers  who  took 
men  in  charge,  and  robbed  them  of  uniformity, 
the  State  and  the  Church.  Christianity  has  till 
now,  by  the  papal  power,  endeavored  to  reunite 
the  two;  the  power  of  the  Pope  is  now  broken,  the 
old  division  is  again  there.  Christianity  does  not 
assign  the  constitution." 

"I  think  we  have  exchanged  the  roles,"  replied 
Spinoza;  "Christianity  does  not  apply  to  nations 
and  States,  but  to  humanity,  to  all  mankind,  to 
make  them  internally  free;  it  could  never  be  an 
external  law.  By  means  of  our  recognition  of  our 
natural  laws  we  can  and  must  regulate  State  and 
Church;  in  both  we  must  leave  room  for  the  in- 
vestigating minds  who  bring  everything  in  ques- 
tion, otherwise  we  again  lay  our  freedom  under  the 
bonds  of  external  laws.  The  religious  and  political 
additions  made  to  Christianity  from  time  to  time 



have  only  been  temporary.  When  Christ  says, 
'  Whosoever  shall  smite  thee  on  the  right  cheek, 
turn  to  him  the  other  also  '  (a  rule  of  behavior  that 
is  also  given  in  the  Lamentations  of  Jeremiah),  it 
can  only  refer  to  a  time  of  oppression  and  lawless- 
ness; otherwise  it  is  according  to  reason  and  duty 
to  give  him  who  giveth  thee  a  blow  two  in  return; 
or  to  bring  him  who  would  sue  thee  at  the  law  to 
justice,  that  the  rogues  may  not  make  a  success- 
ful game  of  their  roguery." 

"With  such  views  as  these,"  said  Oldenburg, 
"  I  should  not  long  hesitate  in  acknowledging  my- 
self of  the  Christian  religion;  you  need  not  do  it 
from  conviction  of  the  dogmas.  Therefore  if  I  were 
you  I  should  join  the  larger  and  more  cultivated 
majority,  who  have  moreover  the  greatest  power  of 
influencing  the  history  of  their  time.  It  is  not 
vanity  in  a  man  to  have  an  ugly  excrescence  removed 
from  his  face;  he  only  fulfils  his  duty  to  others  and 
himself  by  removing  everything  detrimental." 

"And  I,"  said  Meyer,  "would  neither  respect 
nor  value  you  from  that  day  forward;  you  would 
be  a  traitor  to  yourself.  But  I  hear  you  are  in  love 
with  the  saintly  Olympia.  What  a  universally 
tolerant  young  lady  that  is  !  First  she  had  a 
Catholic,  and  then  a  Protestant,  for  lovers;  now 
she  has  a  Jew,  and,  I  presume,  in  Kerkering  a 
Lutheran,  as  co-admirers;  if  she  has  done  with  you 
both  I  will  charter  her  a  Turk." 



"Jest  and  mockery  are  your  original  sins,"  re- 
plied Spinoza  gravely;  "but  I  request  that  you  will 
speak  with  respect  of  Olympia." 

"  Ah  !  the  learned  Olympia  !"  laughed  Meyer, 
"  she  can  conjugate  anio  perfectly  m  the  preterit; 
but  I  must  be  grave.  First  a  painter,  who  lived 
for  two  months  in  these  rooms,  was  bewitched  by 
her.  He  was  a  very  young  man  of  great  talent 
and  overflowing  vivacity.  I  used  to  go  very  often 
to  the  Van  den  Ende's  house  myself  then,  and  con- 
fess that  I  had  not  a  little  to  do  with  Van  den 
Spyck's  severing  the  connection.  But  if  I  had 
known  beforehand  what  would  result  I  would  have 
had  no  hand  in  it,  for  Van  den  Spyck  took  to 
drinking,  and  sank  lower  and  lower  till  he  could 
stay  here  no  longer,  but  now  wanders  unsteadily 
about  the  world.  Both  Van  den  Spyck  and  Olym- 
pia turned  their  anger  on  me,  so  I  went  no  more 
to  my  old  colleague's  house.  Olympia's  second 
lover  was  her  music-master;  he  swam  perpetually 
in  clear  melody,  and  was  never  to  be  seen  without 
a  music-book  under  his  arm,  and  wherever  he  went 
or  stayed  his  fingers  moved  as  if  he  were  playing 
the  organ.  I  believe  he  came  into  the  world  with 
a  sheet  of  music  under  his  arm,  and  that  his  first 
cry  was  in  D  major.  Ah  !  he  revelled  with  Olym- 
pia in  the  kingdom  of  tones.  It  was  the  bass 
voice  of  her  father  that  drove  him  out  of  Paradise. 
Imagine  the  bathos  !      The  man  should   at   least 

346  SPINOZA. 

have  made  a  finale  with  a  pistol-shot.  Cruel  !  not  a 
week  passed  before  the  musical  key  opened  another 
lock,  and  he  was  engaged  to  the  daughter  of  the 
director  of  the  concert  hall.  He  succeeded  to  his 
father-in-law's  post,  and  now  lives  a  comfortable 
citizen  'andante'  with  his  musical  better  half.  I 
shall  see  now  what  will  become  of  you." 

Spinoza  walked  moodily  up  and  down  the  room, 
with  the  same  feelings  as  when  Chisdai  defiled 
the  fair  image  of  Olympia  with  such  bigoted  zeal. 

"I  can't  understand  you,"  said  Oldenburg;  "in- 
deed you  delude  yourself  if  you  think  you  love 
her.  Your  peace  of  mind  and  self-concentration  in 
thoughts  that  have  no  reference  to  love  would  be 
impossible  if  the  true  fire  of  passion  burned  in  your 

"Do  you  know  all  the  peculiarities  of  love  in 
different  individuals,  that  you  speak  so  decidedly 
on  the  subject  ?"  asked  Spinoza. 

"I  know  love;  and  even  if  I  were  more  pas- 
sionate than  many  others,  still  I  know  its  eternal 
origin,  which  is  and  must  be  the  same  with  every 
one.  My  acquaintance  with  Olympia  dates  from  my 
own  love-story.  Maria  was  a  friend  of  Olympia's. 
No  man  ever  loved  more  truly  than  I.  I  looked 
with  pity  and  scorn  on  ordinary  men,  who  from  day 
to  day  could  think  of  other  things,  follow  a  favorite 
profession,  study  physic,  prepare  enactments,  or 
write  commercial  letters;  and  then,  when  the  day's 



work  was  finished,  or  a  Sunday  stood  in  the  calen- 
dar, take  a  walk  with  the  beloved  one.  These  ex- 
cellent, self-contained  souls,  how  narrow  and  cold 
they  seemed  to  me,  who  thought  no  other  thoughts, 
and  felt  no  other  feeling  but  love  alone.  I  had  won 
a  new  soul  with  an  unalterable  sameness,  for  the 
one  perpetual  thought  was  of  her  and  of  her  alone. 
When  I  drew  the  sweet  breath  of  Maria's  presence, 
or  remained  in  my  distant  home,  her  soul  was  al- 
ways with  me.  Wherever  I  was  I  thought.  Soon  she 
will  be  here  with  thee;  thou  wilt  call  her  thine  own. 
I  often  trembled  at  the  infinite,  overwhelming  mag- 
nitude of  this  happiness.  It  was  too  great;  I  could 
not  have  borne  it.  I  was  shamefully  deceived  in  my 
love  and  in  my  better  feelings.  Love  another !  I 
cannot  and  dare  not  wish  to.  If  it  is  denied  me  to 
pour  out  my  soul  in  that  first  fiery  passion,  I  despise 
any  well-behaved  citizen  love.  I  am  glad  that  I  am 
too  old  to  be  exposed  to  such  another  temptation. 
I  have  found  a  sphere  of  usefulness,  and  peace  is 
in  that." 

"  Marriage  is  a  sacred  and  eternal  law  of  nature," 
replied  Spinoza.  "  It  is  the  fairest  crown  of  human- 
ity, if  it  is  made  from  pure  inclination  recognized 
by  reason." 

"  I  will  not  attack  matrimony,"  answered  Olden- 
burg, "  but  the  curse  that  rests  on  mankind  the 
more  it  develops  is  that  it  is  always  more  and  more 
impossible  to  partake  of  the  pleasure  exactly  when 

348  SPINOZA. 

nature  requires  it.  What  are  art,  science  and  in- 
dustry  ?  May  they  all  be  destroyed  if  mankind  is 
not  to—" 

"  He  can  live  according  to  nature,"  interrupted 
Spinoza,  "who  has  early  learned  to  master  his  pas- 
sions, and  to  act  in  accordance  with  the  eternal  laws 
of  reason.  For  this  they  should  not  appear  as  ex- 
ternal and  arbitrary,  otherwise  the  power  of  the 
passions  will  often  win  in  the  conflict.  But  if,  by 
our  recognition  of  the  law  of  reason,  we  have  seen 
the  worthlessness  of  all  power  and  all  indulgence 
of  the  passions,  we  shall  lead  such  a  life  as  our  true 
nature  exacts." 

"It  is  not  given  to  every  man,"  answered  Olden-* 
burg,  "  to  turn  his  back  on  the  world,  or  rather  to 
hover  above  it  all  in  the  heaven  of  his  own  con- 
sciousness. There  are  wild  and  stormy  spirits  who, 
by  mere  happy  indifference,  retain  their  enjoyment 
in  this  world  of  weighty  trifles,  of  necessary  tyranny, 
and  can  be  kept  from  madness  and  despair." 

In  a  mild  tone  Spinoza  led  the  conversation  to  its 
source  again  by  saying: 

"  I  do  not  turn  my  back  on  the  world  as  you 
think;  I  fully  enjoy  it  in  my  own  way." 

"  And  you  deceive  yourself  if  you  think  you  will 
enjoy  it  more  with  Olympia." 

"  Oldenburg,  you  have  too  high-flown  notions  of 
matrimony,"  remarked  Meyer.  "  Believe  me,  I  now 
have  a  second  wife,  and  live  in  great  contentment. 



Men  are  neither  so  happy  in  marriage  as  fancy 
hopes,  nor  so  unhappy  as  it  fears.  I  knew  my 
second  wife  but  little  before  our  marriage.  We 
learned  to  know  each  other  and  accommodate  our- 
selves to  one  another  afterwards.  What  men  dream 
about  harmony  of  minds  is  not  practicable.  My 
wife,  for  example,  is  truly  pious,  and  yet  we  live 
united.  Indeed,  I  should  not  like  her  not  to  be  so. 
That  quiet  faith  gives  women  a  special  charm.  I 
have  two  fine,  healthy  boys,  a  well-ordered  house- 
hold, and  may  say  that  I  live  happily." 

"  You  know  I  respect  and  honor  Olympia,"  said 
Oldenburg,  "  but  I  must  advise  you  against  a 
union  with  her.  I  interfere  in  the  affair  most  un- 
willingty,  and  would  give  it  up  now,  if  I  did  not 
know  your  enviable  power  of  keeping  yourself  pure 
and  uninfluenced  by  all  opposition.  Let  yourself 
be  dissuaded.  It  is  not  Olympia's  first  love  affair. 
The  first  dew  of  heaven  is  gone,  her  lips  have  al- 
ready kissed  others,  her  heart  has  already  throbbed 
for  another,  and — you  must  not  be  angry  with  me 
for  saying  it — what  you  feel  for  her  is  not  true 
love;  otherwise  you  could  not  possibly  act  with  this 
peaceful  equanimity." 

**  I  must,  however,  repeat,"  replied  Spinoza,  "that 
there  is  nothing  truly  desirable  which  reasonable 
deliberation  cannot  comprehend  as  thoroughly  and 
more  permanently  than  enthusiasm  and  unre- 
strained passion." 

350  SPINOZA. 

"Something  else  occurs  to  me,"  said  Meyer. 
"  Would  it  be,  to  express  it  from  a  legal  point  of 
view,  permissible  for  Jews  and  Christians  to  inter- 
marry ?" 

"  No  Rabbi  on  earth  could  bring  forward  an 
absolute  prohibition.  Christians  are,  from  a  Jewish 
point  of  view,  merely  regarded  as  a  Jewish  sect. 
That  their  numerical  power  in  the  course  of  events 
has  become  greater  makes  no  difference  to  the  fact. 
We  have  sects  among  the  Jews,  even  individual 
Talmudists,  who  consider  faith  in  a  Messiah  as  im- 
material and  not  among  the  necessary  laws  of  their 
religion.  A  union  between  Jews  and  Christians 
cannot  be  forbidden." 

"As  long  as  such  intermarriages  are  unusual," 
resumed  Meyer,  "  the  detestation  connected  with 
the  name  of  Jew  will  not  be  generally  uprooted.  I 
could  almost  be  in  favor  of  this  union.  It  would 
seem  so  glorious  to  me  to  be  the  Jewish  redeemer 
in  this  case.  But  no,  you  must  not  only  be  a  Jew, 
you  must  remain  a  bachelor.  It  is  only  thus  that 
you  fulfil  your  mission.  Whoever  takes  upon  him- 
self family  ties  and  social  obligations,  his  straight- 
forward, strictly  logical  orderings  of  life  and  thought 
are  split  up  and  interrupted.  Distraction  and  inter- 
ruption enter  of  necessity,  and  I  can  already  see  in 
my  own  profession  what  it  is  to  let  my  thoughts  be 
turned  hither  and  thither  by  the  thousand  changing 
chances  of  life,     The  steady,  uninterrupted  stream 


between  the  thinking  mind  and  the  one  thought 
which  you  set  before  you  is  thus  perpetually  crossed 
and  interrupted;  the  natural  heat  flows  away,  cools, 
and  must  perpetually  be  relighted.  So  congratu- 
late yourself  that  you  are  born  a  Jew,  and  are  a 
bachelor  by  fate  and  free-will." 

For  the  first  time  Spinoza  was  glad  when  his 
two  friends  took  leave.  Of  all  the  inclinations  of 
man  love  of  woman  is  the  most  like  faith.  Its  true 
foundation  is  only  in  the  individual  personality, 
whose  precise  view  of  the  case,  known  to  no  other, 
makes  it  sacrilege  to  interfere.  Why  should  Spinoza 
be  possessed  by  a  love  which  was  in  such  opposi- 
tion to  the  world,  and  therefore  gave  every  one,  and 
especially  his  friends,  a  right  to  pry  into  it  ?  A  less 
steadfast  and  unworldly  because  less  truth-loving 
nature  would  have  had  his  softer  sentiments  de- 
stroyed by  such  encroachments,  and  have  become 
bitter  against  his  friends,  or  self-distrustful. 
Spinoza  learned  by  his  clear  intelligence  to  acquire 
here  too  that  devotion  which  men  usually  ascribe 
to  the  direct  influence  of  sentiment. 



A  HEART  accustomed  to  suppress  all  stormy 
ebullitions,  to  gain  the  even  pulsation  and 
moderation  of  expression  that  is  as  far  removed 
from  dull  stupidity  as  from  extremes  of  joy  and 
sorrow,  in  such  a  life  we  do  not  meet  with  dizzy 
heights  or  dark  depths  that  fill  the  sympathetic 
spectator  sometimes  with  painful  horror  at  the 
threatened  ruin,  and  sometimes  with  quiet  satisfac- 
tion at  the  safety  gained. 

Our  hero  has  not  lost  himself  for  love  of  a  woman, 
but  his  better  life  is  endangered  by  it.  He  has  no 
one  to  fight  with  but  with  himself,  with  his  natural 
and  acquired  relations.  Such  noiseless  combat, 
however,  excites  the  pulses  of  the  internal  powers 
all  the  more  that  it  is  wanting  in  the  tangible 
opposition  that  rouses  combativeness.  No  visible 
kingdom  will  be  revolutionized  by  the  rise  and  fall 
of  our  hero,  but  a  kingdom  of  the  mind,  with  wide- 
spreading  influence,  is  brought  into  jeopardy.  In 
the  quiet,  unadorned  garret  in  the  Kalverstraat,  Am- 
sterdam, the  conflict  will  be  decided. 

Work  and  quiet  contemplation  alone  are  what 
we  shall  observe.     By  earliest  dawn  we  find  our 


philosopher  awake  at  his  bench.  He  has  again,  as 
Frau  Gertrui  expresses  it,  *'  taken  the  day  in  the 
eye  ;"  he  smiles  at  this  remark,  perhaps  it  means 
something  else  to  him.  If  the  wheel  and  the  pen- 
cil are  silent  the  room  is  as  quiet  as  the  grave,  the 
world  is  shut  out. 

What  raises  expectation  in  his  face  to-day,  and 
why  does  he  look  so  often  at  the  window  corner  ? 

He  does  not  live  so  much  alone  as  we  supposed. 
He  has  a  companion  in  a  cell  made  by  itself  in  a 
corner  of  his  room,  for  whose  daily  bread  he  has  to 
provide.  Look,  he  has  caught  a  fly;  he  takes  his 
microscope,  and  going  to  the  window  throws  the 
captured  animal  into  the  web.  We  too  will  look 
through  the  microscope;  perhaps  we  shall  be  able 
thus  to  follow  the  observations  of  the  philosopher. 

Look  how  the  lonely  spider  springs  out  of  its 
den.  In  spite  of  its  eight  eyes  its  sense  of  sight 
must  be  imperfect,  for  it  does  not  get  out  of  the 
way,  however  near  an  object  is  placed  to  it;  but  it 
must  have  exceedingly  fine  sensation,  for  it  feels 
the  slightest  movement  of  the  net.  Or,  perhaps, 
the  net  still  retains  a  living  link  with  its  spinner  ? 
Look  how  swiftly  it  throws  itself  on  the  struggling 
prey,  surrounds  it  with  long  hairy  legs,  squeezes  it 
and  kisses  it  with  the  strong  proboscis.  "  That  is 
right,  guard  yourself,  bravely  done,  but  the  web  ! 
The  next  crash  it  is  through.  There  !  the  hind 
feet   folded  on  the   back  and  prepared  for  flight. 



Alas  !  the  left  wing  is  torn,  it  cannot  get  away,  and 
the  devouring  enemy  is  again  approaching;  now  it 
is  seized  and  carried  off  to  the  den.  It  is  all  over; 
it  pulls  the  feet  out,  and  spins  its  fine  web  fast  all 
round;  it  has  broken  the  head  from  the  trunk  and 
sucks  the  inside  out.  What  comfortable  enjoy- 
ment !  How  it  refreshes  itself  !  Then  it  pauses,  and 
then  sets  to  again  to  gnaw,  as  if  it  knew  that  it 
was  a  higher  providential  power  that  sent  the 
cooked  pigeon  flying  into  its  mouth.  The  spider 
certainly  thinks  the  whole  race  of  flies  was  created 
for  its  bepefit,  and  everything  is  good  in  so  far  as 
it  is  of  the  nature  of  fiy,  and  fills  the  pouch  of  the 
spider.  Now  it  looks  as  if  it  prayed  to  me.  Or 
are  the  wind  and  the  broom  its  idols,  since  it  has 
experienced  that  they  can  lay  its  house  in  ruins  ? 
There,  it  is  finished;  the  bare  skeleton  is  all  that  is 
lying  there  ;  it  creeps  back  still  further  into  its 
corner;  its  work  is  ended,  since  it  is  satisfied." 

The  philosopher  laid  the  microscope  aside,  took 
up  the  Bible  lying  before  him,  opened  at  Chap.  xxx. 
of  the  Proverbs  of  Solomon  and  read:  ''  Two  things 
have  I  required  of  thee;  deny  me  them  not  before  I 
die:  Remove  far  from  me  vanity  and  lies;  give  me 
neither  poverty  nor  riches;  feed  me  with  food  con- 
venient for  me  ":  .  .  .*' There  be  four  things  which 
are  little  upon  the  earth,  but  they  are  exceeding 
wise:  The  ants  are  a  people  not  strong,  yet  they 
prepare  their  meat  in  the  summer;  the  conies  are 



but  a  feeble  folk,  yet  make  they  their  houses  in  the 
rocks;  the  locusts  have  no  king,  yet  go  they  forth 
all  of  them  by  bands;  the  spider  taketh  hold  with 
her  hands  and  is  in  kings*  palaces." 

The  Bible  explains  in  its  own  way  nature  and 
her  propensities,  human  history  and  its  own  wars 
of  extermination.  Everywhere  an  endless  succes- 
sive war  of  destruction.  Force  rules  in  nature,  in- 
nocent of  motive,  and  in  the  kingdom  of  nature 
might  and  right  are  one,  and  men  have  fixed  laws 
to  protect  them  from  one  another,  and  these  laws 
again  only  derive  their  influence  from  their  legiti- 
mate power;  the  divine  privilege  of  man,  however, 
is  to  be  a  law  unto  himself  in  conscious  comprehen- 
sion of  his  own  nature,  which  prescribes  him  peace 
with  himself  and  the  world.  In  the  name  of  these 
given  laws,  divine  and  human,  thousands  condemn 
and  devour  each  other,  and  what  should  unite  them 
divides  them.  Will  it  ever  be  possible  to  establish 
the  power  of  the  law  on  virtue  and  love  ? 

Let  us  congratulate  ourselves  that  to-day  we  are 
fortunate  enough  to  find  Spinoza  undisturbed,  for 
yesterday  he  had  to  sustain  a  sharp  conflict.  Frau 
Gertrui  came  to  the  door  with  a  broom,  just  as  he 
was  laughing  aloud  at  the  fight  of  a  fat  bluebottle 
with  the  spider. 

"Do  the  Jews  too  think  the  spiders  bring  luck  ?" 
she  asked.  "You  are  so  orderly,  just  the  opposite 
in  that  of  the  blessed  Magister,  of  which  I  am  truly 

356  SPINOZA. 

glad.  I  will  not  kill  the  spider— God  forbid — only- 
drive  it  away.  I  am  quite  ashamed  when  the  good 
gentlemen  come  to  see  you;  what  will  they  think? 
It  must  be  a  fine  housekeeper  that  never  brushes 
the  spiders'  webs  away." 

For  a  neat  Dutchwoman,  in  her  care  for  the 
blank  cleanliness  of  her  house,  you  cannot  easily 
find  a  greater  enemy  than  a  spider.  It  was  very 
unwillingly  that  Frau  Gertrui  set  any  limits  to  her 
zeal  for  scouring.  It  was  no  use  the  philosopher 
explaining  how  very  clean  spiders  were;  and  she 
was  not  even  pacified  by  Spinoza  telling  her  he 
would  explain  to  all  his  visitors  that  it  was  he  who 
kept  the  webs  there.  She  maintained,  moreover, 
that  he  could  not  be  a  true  Dutchman  if  he  could 
live  in  a  room  with  a  spider's  web. 

Let  us  see,  meanwhile,  how  he  ends  his  day. 
Till  night  he  worked  and  then  jotted  down  his 
worked-out  thoughts  on  paper.  He  had  strained 
both  head  and  hands  this  day  and  felt  the  need  of 
speech.  He  took  his  lamp  in  his  hand  and  went 
down  to  his  landlord.  When  he  entered  the  room 
Klaas  and  Gertrui  were  sitting  at  the  table  with 
folded  hands;  their  grandson,  Albert  Burgh,  was 
reading  the  evening  prayers  aloud.  Spinoza  sat 
down  in  a  corner  till  the  prayers  were  finished, 
then  drew  his  chair  to  the  table  and  conversed  with 
the  rest.  Klaas  complained  that  the  new  fashions 
ruined  everything;  the  button-makers  were  gradu- 



ally  losing  their  livelihood  because  smaller  and 
fewer  buttons  were  worn.  Spinoza  had  consola- 
tion for  everything,  and  the  people  felt  much  com- 
forted by  his  conversation. 

"Tell  me,"  asked  Klaas,  *'how  it  is — you  are  not 
old  in  years  and  have  not  seen  much  of  the  world — 
how  is  it  you  know  so  well  and  so  quickly  what  is 
in  the  hearts  of  common  men  ?  Before  we  had 
been  a  week  here  I  felt  as  if  we  had  eaten  a  bushel 
of  salt  together." 

Spinoza  explained  that  the  human  heart  is  the 
same  in  all  circumstances,  and  that  he  who  really 
knows  himself  can  judge  of  and  understand  aright 
the  movements  of  the  hearts  of  other  men  in  other 

"  When  you  speak  like  that,"  said  Frau  Gertrui, 
"my  mind  feels  as  Sunday-like  as  if  I  were  listen- 
ing to  a  sermon;  the  blessed  Domine  Plancius  used 
to  preach  just  like  you  in  the  Oudekerk.  Did  he 
not,  Klaas  ?  I  have  often  said  so.  Our  dear  Herr 
von  Spinoza  has  such  a  Christian  mind;  he  has 
nothing  of  the  Jew  about  him;  he  is  not  a  bit  like 
the  other  Jews,  and  he  is  not  a  Jew." 

"  Geert,  when  your  tongue  is  set  going  it  chatters 
on  whether  it  is  wise  or  stupid,"  said  Klaas.  "  You 
must  not  take  it  ill  of  her,  sir;  she  does  not  mean  ill." 

"You  know  well  enough  how  it  is  meant;  I  only 
say  you  are  not  what  the  Jews  are;  so — so — well, 
you  know  what  I  mean," 

358  SPINOZA. 

"Oh,  yes;  and  I  am  not  vexed  at  all." 

"Each  one  stick  to  his  creed,"  said  Klaas,  "and 
he  who  is  brave  and  upright  may  be  saved  by  any 
faith;  all  men  are  God's  children." 

"But  you  are  a  child  of  the  devil,"  said  little 
Albert,  who  had  been  listening  quietly  to  Spinoza; 
"you  have  crucified  our  Saviour,  and  will  go  to 

Klaas  stretched  across  the  table  and  would  have 
boxed  the  boy's  ears;  Frau  Gertrui  and  Spinoza 
prevented  him. 

"Stupid  child!"  said  the  former;  "this  gentle- 
man did  not  do  it;  others  did  it  who  have  had  their 
reward  long  ago." 

Spinoza  took  the  struggling  boy  on  his  knee  and 
explained  to  him  that  it  was  no  sin  to  be  a  Jew, 
since  Christ  and  his  apostles  were  Jews.  The 
Jews  had  certainly  not  done  right  to  slay  Christ  on 
the  cross,  but  things  had  gone  ill  enough  with  them, 
and  men  cannot  do  penance  forever  for  a  fault. 

"  By  your  leave,"  said  Klaas,  "  you  have  not  quite 
the  right  view  of  it.  Our  Saviour  was  obliged  to 
die  on  the  cross  because  it  was  foreordained  of  God 
the  Father,  and  he  could  only  become  our  Saviour 
by  so  doing.  * 

"  Even  according  to  this  Calvinistic  view,"  re- 
plied Spinoza,  "  the  Jews  were  still  more  innocent. 
You  must  never  believe,  dear  Albert,  that  God 
would  damn  a  man  forever." 



On  this  last  poiftt  also  he  had  to  maintain  a  con- 
troversy with  Klaas,  and  especially  on  the  passage 
in  the  Bible,  "  The  Son  of  Man  goeth  as  it  is  written 
of  him;  but  woe  unto  that  man  by  whom  the  Son 
of  Man  is  betrayed  !  It  had  been  good  for  that 
man  if  he  had  not  been  born  !"  (Matt.  xxvi.  24). 
But  the  dispute  ended  quietly. 

"  Why  have  you  not  a  great  beard  ?"  asked  Albert 
shyly,  stroking  Spinoza's  chin;  "in  your  country 
all  men  have  long  beards." 

"  In  my  country  ?  Where  do  you  think  I  was 
born  ?" 

"  In  Jerusalem,  or  do  you  come  from  Nazareth  ? 
Oh,  tell  me  something  about  it;  it  must  be  so  lovely 

"  I  do  not  come  from  Canaan,  my  dear  boy.  I 
was  born  here  in  Amsterdam,  as  you  were  also." 

"That  is  a  lie;  you  are  a  Jew.  Is  he  not,  grand- 
father ?     The  Jews  all  come  from  Canaan." 

"Not  for  a  long  time  now;  they  have  been  with 
us  for  longer  than  we  can  remember;  and  when 
the  Saviour  comes  again  and  begins  his  thousand 
years'  reign  he  will  take  all  the  Jews  back  to  Pales- 

"  Then  I  should  like  to  be  a  Jew  too.  I  want  to 
go  with  him." 

"Be  glad  you  are  not  one,  boy,"  said  Spinoza; 
"we  have  long  to  wait  for  the  millennium." 

"  What  was  your  father  called  ?" 

360  SPINOZA, 


"  But  he  was  not  Jacob's  youngest  son.  Jacob 
was  a  nice  man.  I  should  have  been  ashamed  to 
have  him  for  a  grandfather;  he  deceived  his  brother 
Esau  and  his  father-in-law  Laban,  and  his  de- 
scendants stole  the  Egyptians'  gold  and  silver." 

"  Be  so  good  as  to  give  the  boy  a  couple  of  sound 
slaps  for  me,"  said  Klaas. 

"Not  I,"  answered  Spinoza.  *'  He  is  a  little  Bi- 
ble hero.  But  don't  forget,  child,  neither  with 
Egyptian  gold  nor  with  Christ's  crucifixion  have 
the  Jews  anything  more  to  do;  and  you  must  al- 
ways remember  that  the  apostles,  too,  were  Jews." 

"  Geert,  put  the  boy  to  bed,  or  else  we  shall 
never  get  rid  of  him.''  For  once  a  highly  reasona- 
ble speech  of  Klaas  Ufmsand.  Spinoza  with  diffi- 
culty obtained  a  hand  from  little  Albert,  but  dare 
not  kiss  him  for  the  world.  For  some  time  longer 
Spinoza  sat  talking  with  Master  Klaas  till  he 
yawned  more  and  more  frequently  and  openly, 
then  they  separated. 

"  You  have  come  to  a  capital  punishment,"  said 
Spinoza  one  day  at  noon  to  Oldenburg,  as  he  en- 
tered. "  In  that  box  I  have  been  starving  a  folio 
edition  of  a  garden  spider  for  several  days,  and 
there  is  another  empty  wretch.  I  too  have  a  talent 
for  diplomacy,  and  mean  to  set  a  war  of  extermina- 
tion going." 

He  half   filled  a  bowl  with  water,  unscrewed  a 



flat  plate  from  the  work-bench,  placed  it  in  the 
vessel,  and  the  two  spiders  on  the  leaden  island. 
Each  of  the  spectators  armed  himself  with  a  micro- 

"  Look,"  said  Spinoza;  "  if  there  is  a  spirit  wholly- 
independent  of  the  world  hovering  over  it  it  is 
thus  that  he  would  watch,  as  we  are  now  doing, 
over  the  little  conflicts  on  the  earth." 

"We  must  give  the  two  sides  names,"  said  Olden- 
burg. "  The  garden  spider  shall  be  Alexander,  the 
other  Darius.  Look  !  Alexander  sends  out  his 
scouts  far  and  wide;  Darius  flies,  but  it  is  of  no  use, 
the  sea  surrounds  him.  Both  pause  for  a  while, 
but  Alexander  arises  and  presses  forward.  Look, 
how  he  throws  his  arms  round  his  adversary,  but 
he  defends  himself  vigorously;  now  they  rise  to  the 
conflict.  How  they  seize  and  squeeze  each  other, 
how  their  probosces  tear  at  one  another !  If  I 
could  only  see  their  eyes  properly.  Bravo  !  Alex- 
ander is  down,  but  his  long  arms  press  powerfjjlly 
against  the  scaly  breast  of  his  adversary.  Now  he 
has  torn  himself  loose.  Look  how  he  rushes  with 
fresh  courage  to  choke  his  enemy!  His  fall  was  only 
ä  Parthian  flight;  now  is  the  time.  Oh,  it  is  all 
over,  they  are  letting  each  other  go." 

"  Be  quiet,"  said  Spinoza.  "  That  is  only  a  truce, 
and  if  it  were  sworn  to  by  all  the  gods,  they  would 
break  it  like  men  as  soon  as  they  had  gathered 
strength  for  a  new  fight.     Am  I  not  right  in  assert- 

362  SPINOZA, 

ing  that  everything  depends  on  the  standpoint  and 
position  of  the  pupil  ?  The  buffalo  mangling  the 
grim  tiger  with  his  horns  till  he  lies  crushed  to 
death  before  him  is  not  greater  than  this  spider  in 
fight.  Nothing  is  in  itself  great,  nothing  in  itself 
small,  only,  because  it  appears  so  to  us,  we  would 
make  it  so.  If  men  were  not  curbed  by  higher 
reason,  and  allowed  themselves  to  be  governed  only 
by  their  ruling  passions,  they  would  destroy  each 
other  like  these  animals." 

''  Indeed  this  combat  is  as  great  as  those  of  men. 
When  in  war  a  thousand  fiery  messengers  send  out 
death,  when  the  ground  trembles  and  the  swords 
flash,  drenching  themselves  in  the  blood  of  men, 
we  feel  so  great  in  our  scorn  of  death,  so  almighty 
in  the  exercise  of  strength,  we  think  we  could  stir 
the  world  from  its  axis,  and  what  is  it  ?  A  little 
ant-hill's  inhabitants  fighting  with  grasshoppers — " 

"  The  eternal  peace  has  already  come  to  its  mortal 
end,"  interrupted  Spinoza.  "  Look  how  they  whet 
their  weapons,  now  bravely  at  it  again  !" 

The  two  friends  watched  the  result  of  the  com- 
bat without  further  conversation.  Oldenburg  had 
not  given  the  parties  their  right  names,  for  the  gar- 
den spider  after  a  short  resistance  was  devoured 
by  the  other,  head  and  hair  and  all.  Darius  was 
borne  in  triumph  on  the  leaden  island  to  where  he 
had  spun  himself  a  royal  tent. 

"  Ordinary  life  has  many  turns  and  twists  of  deep 


signification,"  said  Oldenburg.  "  Of  two  people 
who  pursue  each  other  with  inextinguishable  hatred 
we  say  they  are  enemies  like  spiders." 

"Your  lord  and  master,  Descartes,"  said  Spinoza, 
"  could  have  learned  a  great  deal  from  these  spi- 
ders. He  would  probably  have  then  not  brought 
forward  a  false  proof  of  a  true  thing.  He  tries  to 
prove  the  existence  of  God  from  the  fact  that  we, 
who  have  an  idea  of  him,  exist.  He  takes  two 
axioms  to  prove  this.  Firstly,  'That  which  can 
perform  the  greater  and  more  difficult  can  also 
perform  the  lesser  and  less  difficult.*  Secondly, 
'  It  is  greater  to  create  and  preserve  the  substance 
than  the  attributes  and  qualities  of  the  substance.' 
I  do  not  know  what  he  means  by  that.  What  does 
he  call  easy,  what  difficult  ?  Nothing  is  absolutely 
easy  or  difficult  in  itself,  but  can  only  be  called  so 
with  regard  to  its  cause.  We  want  no  other  ex- 
ample but  this  spider;  with  very  little  trouble  it 
spins  a  web  that  men  could  not  make  without  very 
great  difficulty.  On  the  other  hand  men  do  many 
things  with  ease  that  would  perhaps  be  impossible 
to  angels.  What  can  be  called  absolutely  easy  or 
difficult  ?  It  would  in  this  way  be  easily  imaginable 
that  men  may  exist  without  necessarily  supposing 
the  existence  of  God.  But  the  existence  of  God,  as 
we  have  said,  follows  necessarily  and  consequently 
on  the  idea  of  him." 

Spinoza  held  a  lengthier  discussion  with  Olden- 

364  SPINOZA. 

burg  on  the  subject.  We  have  remained  long 
enough  in  the  house  of  Klaas  Ufmsand,  and  will 
pause  until  we  can  again  conduct  Benedict  to 
Olympia.  There  our  story  is  quite  in  another 



KERKERING  had  clasped  Olympia's  hand,  and 
prayed  Cecilia  in  a  jesting  tone  to  be  his 
godmother  if  he  became  a  Catholic.  He  did  not 
let  loose  her  hand  when  Spinoza  entered,  in  spite 
of  Olympia's  efforts.  Spinoza  stared  in  astonish- 
ment. Olympia  blushed,  she  snuffed  the  candle, 
and,  during  the  short  interval  of  darkness,  quite 
recovered  herself,  and  gave  Spinoza  a  lecture  on  his 
prolonged  absence. 

"I  cannot  understand,"  she  said,  "how  a  man 
of  your  age  can  immure  himself  so  in  a  cell.  Frau 
Gertrui  told  me  that  you  had  not  been  down  stairs 
for  the  last  ten  days,  and  that  you  had,  moreover, 
used  a  pound  and  a  half  of  oil  in  your  nightly 
studies.  You  might  become  a  monk  or  a  hermit 
without  any  self-sacrifice.  It  is  a  pity  you  are  not 
a  Catholic." 

''■  I  regret  it  equally;  to  put  off  the  old  man  is 
easy  enough,  but  to  draw  the  old  on  anew  is  diffi- 
cult."   . 

Olympia  was  silent.  Kerkering  looked  puzzled; 
he  used  all  his  powers  of  mind,  but  could  not 
rightly  understand  what  lay  behind  these  words. 

366  SPINOZA. 

"  It  is  provoking,"  Olympia  began  again,  "  that 
we  women  must  perpetually  go  in  leading-strings, 
and  never  dare  manage  to  be  free.  I  cannot  help 
wishing  to  see  the  room  for  one  minute  that  makes 
the  whole  world  unnecessary  to  you.  Take  care; 
I  have  settled  it  all  with  Gertrui.  Next  time  you 
are  not  at  home  I  shall  come  and  examine  every- 
thing. I  must  find  the  arcanum  that  can  keep  you 
so  much  to  itself.  You  must  have  something  ex- 
traordinary there;  day  by  day  polishing  glass  and 
studying,  studying  and  polishing  glass.  Always 
alone,  not  even  an  organ  or  a  lute  near  you;  no 
one  could  endure  it.  But  I  shall  find  out  the  secret 

"This  time  it  is  my  turn,"  answered  Spinoza, 
*' to  deny  you  a  sixth  sense.  If  you  seek  through 
everything  you  are  certain  to  overlook  a  companion 
whose  heart  glows  for  me,  and  whose  warm  breath 
I  inhale  with  pleasure.  But  alas  !  this  faithful 
companion  is  evanescent  and  frail,  like  all  things 

"Oh,  you  fanatical  and  godless  smoker!  But  in 
your  place  I  would  really  leave  off  smoking.  It  is 
only  an  artificial  taste,  an  imaginary  pleasure." 

"  After  music  nothing  refreshes  a  weary  spirit 
like  a  pipe  of  the  American  weed.  Like  the  waves 
of  sound  in  music  here  the  waves  of  smoke  float 
around  us  and  smooth  over  all  that  is  ruffled  in  us. 
When  I  easily  and  silently  take  a  long  puff  at  the 


pipe,  keep  the  ethereal  draught  a  moment  in  my 
mouth,  and  then  let  it  stream  out  in  a  light  breath, 
it  flatters  and  soothes  my  mouth  and  lips  as  a  soft 
melody  does  my  ears.  You  know  well  enough  the 
ill  effect  of  that  damp  cold  grey  on  grey  painted 
weather.  That,  if  I  may  so  call  it,  prickly  feeling 
of  discomfort,  which  then  pervades  our  whole  be- 
ing, I  can  chase  that  away  much  better  when  I  am 
surrounded  by  a  cloud  of  tobacco  smoke.  I  make 
myself  independent  of  the  influence  of  the  weather, 
and  when  I  watch  the  fleeting  play  of  the  smoke 
wreaths  my  mind  gains  in  breadth  and  I  feel  my- 
self so  delightfully  peaceful  and  enlightened." 

"Glorious  !"  cried  Olympia;  "  now,  for  once,  I  see 
you  as  an  enthusiast." 

"  I  must  become  enthusiastic  to  make  you  un- 
derstand the  worth  of  anything  that  you  cannot  try 
for  yourself." 

"What  a  pity  it  is  you  never  knew  my  Uncle 

"  Let  the  dead  rest  in  peace,"  said  Cecilia,  who 
sat  reading  in  the  window.  "  What  do  you  want 
with  our  blessed  uncle  ?" 

"  It  does  not  matter  disturbing  his  rest  a  little  in 
the  other  world;  he  had  too  much  rest  in  this  life 
and  was  always  ill  in  consequence." 

Cecilia  did  not  answer,  but  during  the  ensuing 
conversation  she  retired  unnoticed  into  the  next 

368  SPINOZA. 

"Was  your  uncle,  too,  a  priest  of  tobacco's  vestal 
fire?"  asked  Spinoza. 

"I  remember  quite  well  now  a  sermon  he 
preached  five  years  ago  in  the  church  of  St.  John. 
He  was  a  zealous  opponent  of  tobacco  in  both 
forms.  '  They  have  noses,  and  smell  not,'  he  cried 
with  the  psalmist  from  the  pulpit;  'they  have 
mouths,  and  taste  not'  " 

"'And  speak  not,'  saith  David,"  corrected  Spi- 
noza; but  Olympia  continued  undisturbed: 

"They  offer  their  bodies  to  Moloch  and  Baal. 
Each  one  from  early  morning  smokes  his  calf's, 
ox's,  or  sheep's  tongue,  and  the  vapor  rises  from 
his  mouth  like  the  reek  of  a  sacrifice.  That  is  why 
their  tongues  are  dry  when  they  should  pray  an 
'Ave  Maria.'  They  hourly  chew  the  leaves  of  this 
plant  of  sin,  as  if  it  were  heavenly  manna  that 
tasted  like  coriander  in  honeycomb;  and  in  a 
while  they  tickle  their  noses  with  the  stinking  weed 
that  Beelzebub  sowed  so  that  they  can  no  longer 
smell  the  delightful  odor  of  church  incense.  Woe  ! 
woe  unto  this  Babylon,  this  Sodom  and  Gomorrah  ! 
But  one  day  they  will  find  their  true  reward,  and 
will  smoke  merrily  in  hell,  where  there  is  wailing 
and  gnashing  of  teeth;  and  those  who  have  tickled 
their  noses  will  be  salted  with  the  leviathan  and  the 
other  monsters  in  the  depths  of  the  lower  world. 
The  Lord  preserve  you  from  such  chastisement. 
Amen  !" 



"  Bravo  !"  cried  Spinoza.  "Pathos  suits  you  ex- 
cellently; you  are  a  living  concordance  to  the 

"Many  thanks,"  said  Olympia  roguishly;  "do 
you  agree  with  me  that  the  priests  are  so  zealous 
against  tobacco  because  they  are  afraid  of  Ancyra  ?" 

"  Not  quite,  for  I  think  that  they  will  for  long 
and  long  enough  preach  the  same  thing  from  the 
pulpit,  while  the  domines  themselves,  between  each 
of  their  saving  phrases,  will  take  a  pinch  of  snuff 
from  the  gilt  box  on  the  reading  desk  of  their  pul- 
pit. My  Peter  Blyning  always  says,  when  he  takes 
a  pinch  fasting  in  the  morning,  that  it  is  his  spirit- 
ual breakfast." 

"It  occurs  to  me  now,"  said  Olympia:  "do  you 
know  the  horrible  treatise  of  the  wise  King  Solo- 
mon ?" 

"I know  all  the  writings  of  Solomon,  but  I  hope 
you  do  not  call  the  *  Preacher,*  or  the  *  Song  of 
Songs,'  horrible,  and  wish  to  banish  it  from  the 
canon  like  the  old  Fathers  of  the  Church  !" 

"  Oh,  no  !  I  mean  something  quite  different.  My 
Solomon,  indeed,  the  Presbyterians  now  leave  to 
roast  and  steam  in  hell  for  punishment  of  his  pro- 
phetic zeal;  what  grimaces  he  will  make!  I  will 
be  with  you  again,  gentlemen,  in  a  minute."  She 
took  a  light  from  the  table  and  went  out,  singing  as 
she  went. 

"  What    a   wonderful,   enigmatical    girl !"    said 

370  SPINOZA. 

Kerkering,  as  he  sat  near  Spinoza  in  the  darkness. 
"She  is  as  learned  as  if  she  had  ten  professors  in 
her  pocket.  When  I  hear  her  talk  like  that  I  feel 
as  if — as  if — I  don't  know  what;  I  would  rather  be 
quite  still,  and  only  wish  that  she  would  go  on 
talking  forever.  I  cannot  keep  up  with  her;  you 
are  the  man  for  her." 

"  Are  you  of  that  opinion  too  ?"  responded  Spi- 
noza, and  a  light  broke  in  on  the  darkness  to  Ker- 

" '  The  people  that  walked  in  darkness  saw  a 
great  light  ! '  How  does  pathos  suit  me,  Herr  von 
Spinoza?"  said  Olympia,  entering  with  a  large  book 
under  her  arm.  "  Please  excuse  me.  I  did  not  see 
that  Cecilia  had  gone  away,  or  I  would  not  have 
left  you  in  darkness." 

"  A  double  light  appears  with  you,"  said  Kerker- 
ing, perhaps  referring  to  Spinoza's  late  disclosure. 
Olympia  thanked  him  and  opened  the  book. 

"  I  think  I  have  found  something  in  which  I  can 
still  be  your  teacher.  Know  then,  that  King  James 
I.  of  England  was  called  Solomon  the  Wise,  and 
here  is  his  horrible  canonical  treatise,  ''De  Peccato 
Mortali  Fumandi  Nicotiafiam'  Are  you  ready  for 
death,  Herr  von  Spinoza?" 

She  then  read  a  passage  from  the  book. 

"If  the  pious  king  had  only  known,"  said  Olym- 
pia, "  that  now  a  man  would  rule  over  England, 
named  Oliver  Cromwell,  who  carries  his  BiJDle  in  his 



sword-hilt,  and  yet  commits  the  deadly  sin  of  smok- 
ing cigars  all  day  long  !  I  am  delighted,  however, 
to  have  found  your  weak  point  at  last." 

"You  knew  that  long  ago,"  replied  Spinoza, 
and  Kerkering  nodded,  and  bit  his  lips  in  mental 

"You  are  very  unjust  to  music,"  said  Olympia, 
"  when  you  compare  it  with  your  hobby.  Your 
Descartes  knew  that  music  gave  us  many  problems 
to  solve;  his  book  *  Compendium  Musices'  fascinated 
me  very  much.  But  the  creation  of  music  and  its 
effects  cannot  be  calculated  and  demonstrated  in 
numbers.  And  yet  music  has  some  resemblance  to 
mathematics,  in  that  men  created  numbers,  which 
did  not  exist  in  the  world,  but  were  imagined.  And 
men  created  music,  to  which  there  was  no  parallel 
in  the  known  world." 

"The  sounds  we  hear  ?" 

"  They  have  nothing  to  do  with  it.  That  men 
created  and  imagined  a  whole  kingdom  of  inex- 
haustible sensations  by  tones  makes  music  a  mira- 
cle of  the  human  mind  as  much  as  mathematics." 

"  Music  moves  in  a  course,  uncircumscribed  by 
fixed  definitions,"  remarked  Spinoza. 

"  How  cold  that  sounds  !  When  I  shut  my  eyes 
and  listen  to  good  music  I  best  comprehend  my- 
self, and  men  and  circumstances  that  were  before 
confused  become  clear  to  me.  "Imagine  in  harmony 
the  spectacle  of  an  endless  succession  of  imprisoned 

372  SPINOZA. 

and  struggling  souls,  of  whom  some  complain,  sigh 
and  bewail,  while  others  carol,  cheer,  languish  and 
storm;  soon  they  are  united,  and  in  infinite  variety 
express  the  same  thought,  then  are  mute.  Again 
one  awakes,  rises  and  dies  gently  and  happily.  A 
band  again  join  and  rage  and  roar,  the  others 
hasten  past,  the  dead  are  aroused,  till  at  last  peace 
settles  on  all." 

"  Your  explanation  is  so  imaginative,"  said 
Spinoza,  "that  it  convinces  me  more  than  ever  that 
music  is  the  art  of  the  emotions,  and,  indeed,  moves 
in  the  sensations  like  elements  without  a  definite 
object.  Anger,  pain,  and  joy,  hate  and  love  are 
evinced  as  elementary  sensations  without  a  tangible 
object.  I  will  not  reject  such  absorptions,  but  I 
find  it  enough  to  do  to  understand  the  sensations 
which  are  tangible,  and  thereby  if  possible  to  con- 
trol them." 

"  And  I  tell  you,"  maintained  Olympia,  "  your 
whole  philosophy  is  a  philosophy  of  music.  Oh,  if 
I  could  only  express  what  I  mean  properly.  You 
once  explained  to  me  that  the  peace  of  society  de- 
pended on  each  one  resigning,  for  reciprocity's  sake, 
something  of  the  natural  rights  in  accordance  with 
which  man  may  do  all  that  he  is  able,  that  self-pre- 
servation may  become  the  protection  of  all.  Now 
that  is  the  law  of  musical  harmony.  One  note 
struck  alone  would  be  quite  different  and  sharply 
defined;    but  if  it  passes  into  harmony  it  must  re- 





sign  somewhat  of  its  nature  that  the  notes  may  flow 
into  harmony  with  one  another,  one  after  another 
rising  and  falling." 

Spinoza  looked  at  Olympia  with  sparkling  eyes. 
How  she  treasured  his  words,  and  sought  to  bring 
them  within  her  own  mental  sphere.  He  had  no 
time  to  follow  out  his  thought,  that  this  view  might 
be  applied  to  their  personal  connection.  For  after 
a  pause  Olympia  continued  with  this  strange  di- 

"I  cannot  help  being  annoyed,  that  while  such 
extraordinary  progress  has  been  made  in  your  art 
that  the  stars  can  be  brought  quite  close  to  our 
sense  of  sight,  why  have  not  instruments  been  made 
to  strengthen  our  hearing  ?  How  glorious  it  would 
be  if  we  could  hear  the  music  of  the  spheres  that 
Dante  describes  so  divinely." 

"  If  we  accepted  it  as  a  fact  that  the  stars  move 
with  rhythmical  sound,  it  would  do  but  little  for 
our  intelligence  to  hear  them." 

"Intelligence  then  is  the  measure  of  everything? 
Is  not  enjoyment  desirable  in  itself  ?  You  must 
confess  that  no  regular  movement  exists  without 
rhythmical  sound,  from  which  I  have  drawn  a  very 
odd  conclusion,  which  I  will  tell  you,  if  you  will 
promise  not  to  laugh  at  me." 

"  I  promise  that,  for  I  am  curious  to  hear  what 
conclusion  seems  so  odd  to  you." 

"  Half  a  year  ago   my  father  told  me   that  an 



English  physician,  named  William  Harvey,  had  dis- 
covered the  circulation  of  the  blood  and  its  laws. 
I  am  convinced  that  as  the  movement  of  the  heart 
makes  a  sound  that  we  can  hear,  the  movement  of 
the  blood  in  our  veins  must  make  a  sound  too,  but 
one  which  we  can  very  seldom  hear.  In  times 
when  we  are  perfectly  healthy  we  are  in  perfect 
harmony,  in  times  of  sickness  we  are  discordant. 
I  told  my  father  that  the  ringing  we  have  in  our 
ears  must  surely  be  a  note  that  has  broken  loose 
from  the  general  harmony.  My  father  considers 
rather  that  it  was  an  acoustic  illusion  when  we 
thought  we  heard  such  sounds,  but  I  cannot  accept 
that  view.  You  see  there  is  really  a  great  truth 
contained  in  the  common  saying  that  we  can  hear 
the  grass  grow.  All  through  nature  there  is  regu- 
lar movement  of  moisture,  and  wherever  there  is 
movement  there  is  sound  and  tone.  Among  the 
stars,  in  the  depths  of  the  earth,  and  on  the  surface, 
there  is  an  eternal  murmur  and  swell  and  clash. 
Music  is  the  soul  of  the  universe,  is  our  soul.  All 
is  in  million-voiced  harmony,  and  the  articulation 
given  to  man  is  its  divinest  revelation." 

Olympia's  expression  of  countenance  grew 
brighter  and  brighter,  and  Spinoza  said: 

"  You  see  I  do  not  laugh  at  you.  I  am  glad  you 
evaded  so  well  your  father's  view  of  it,  which  yet 
you  so  nearly  agreed  with.  I  will  not  allow  myself 
to  judge  so  hastily  of  your  theory." 

PECULIARITIES.     \  ^    "^  P"  >ifyi-  ^-f 

"  Why  must  men's  partialities  be  so  dufcrent'^ha^  W^^ , 
they  can  hardly  understand  one  another  ?"  a$k^d'7"  ^  ■  «^ 
Olympia,  and  Spinoza  replied:  ^^ ^^.. 

"So  that  we  should  only  try  to  convince  each 
other  on  merely  intellectual  subjects;  where  this 
ends  persecution  for  heresy  begins.  You  are  cer- 
tainly right  in  your  own  appreciation  of  music,  and 
in  your  love  of  it;  but  music  is  an  example  of  how 
in  matters  of  faith,  of  imagination  in  a  word,  where 
no  fixed  definition  is  afforded  by  intellectual  proof, 
fanaticism  and  persecution  so  readily  prevail.  Men 
always  become  passionate  where  they  are  conscious 
of  incapacity,  and  force  an  outward  observance  of 
what  is  only  an  internal  law,  an  internal  duty.  Do 
not  be  led  into  taking  me  for  a  heretic  to  music, 
and  banishing  me  from  your  sanctuary." 

Kerkering  quickly  took  advantage  of  this  turn  of 
the  conversation  to  ask  Olympia  to  go  to  the  organ; 
Spinoza  also  expressed  the  same  desire,  and  it  was 
soothing  and  refreshing  to  their  overwrought  minds 
to  listen  to  the  tones  that  Olympia  drew,  now 
swelling,  now  softly  sinking,  from  the  instrument. 

It  was  late  in  the  evening  when  Spinoza  and 
Kerkering  left.  The  peculiarities  of  character  in 
the  two  lovers  were  plainly  expressed  in  the  fact 
that  Olympia,  fascinated  by  the  flow  of  musical 
sound,  gave  herself  up  unrestrainedly  to  her  feel- 
ings, and  there  felt  the  freedom  of  unrestrained 
existence;  while  the   philosopher's  task   and   Spi- 

3/6  SPINOZA. 

noza's  natura],  ruling  inclination  was,  unmisled  by 
the  stormy  power  of  the  sensations,  not  to  let  these 
deadening  forces  influence  him,  but  to  recognize 
their  perpetual  laws,  and  meanwhile  to  preserve 
amid  all  disturbances  that  equanimity  which  alone 
meant  freedom  to  him. 

A  trifling   physical    peculiarity,  but   one   which 
evinced  a  deeper  tendency  of  disposition,  might  be 
recognized  in  the  fact  that  Olympia's  eyelids  often 
blinked,   while    Spinoza's   look  was    as   open   an^d — - 
steady  as  a  child's. 

It  has  not  been  yet  investigated  what  relation 
such  physical  features  have  to  the  whole  vitality 
and  movement  of  the  mind.  May  we  found  this 
observation  on  the  case  of  Spinoza  and  Olympia: 
that,  while  the  one,  musical  by  nature,  was  animated 
momentarily  by  harmonious  sound,  the  other  had  a 
steadily  speculative  or,  as  Oldenburg  termed  it,  a 
plastic  nature  ? 

These  diversities  in  their  natures  formed  their 
complement  and  a  continually  growing  fascination. 

Whether  in  constant  association  these  differences 
would  always  be  as  easily  accommodated  or  not; 
or  whether  it  was  the  duty  of  one  whose  mission 
was  independent  and  all-embracing  thought,  to  live 
apart  from  every  narrowing  association  in  the  region 
of  pure  intellect  ?  These  questions  were  for  the  time 
suppressed,  for  Spinoza  had  to  show  in  other  ways 
how  far  he  already  controlled  his  emotions. 



THE  holy  Jewish  Church  could  not  with  indif- 
ferent eyes  see  one  who  belonged  to  her  by 
birth  and  ritual  wilfully  break  loose  from  her.  She 
knew  well  enough  that,  if  individuals  were  per- 
mitted to  separate  and  live  according  to  their  own 
inclinations,  the  original  Jewish  tabernacle  would 
in  the  future  stand  deserted,  and  no  one  would 
be  found  to  take  it  on  his  shoulders  and  bear  it 
from  land  to  land,  fixing  its  pillars  in  all  kingdoms 
of  the  earth.  Where  men  are  allowed  to  be  merely 
men,  the  gigantic  edifice  of  the  Church  is  tottering. 
The  lords  of  the  Christian  Church,  as  well  as  of  the 
Jewish,  who  call  themselves  servants,  recognize  this. 
The  Jews  had  no  state.  What  would  be  left  to 
them  if  they  had  no  Church,  no  synagogue  ? 

The  synagogue  keeper,  Elaser  Merimon,  whom 
we  have  before  seen  in  company  with  the  Cabbalist, 
had  already  been  to  Spinoza  three  times,  and  com- 
manded him  in  the  name  of  the  Beth-Din  *  to  return 
to  the  congregation,  and  in  meat  and  drink,  as  well 
as  in  attendance  at  the  synagogue,  to  live  after  the 

*  Ecclesiastical  Court 

378  SPINOZA. 

precepts  of  the  Jewish  religion.  He  had  refused  to 
obey  these  commands,  and  the  lesser  excommuni- 
cation was  passed,  which  banished  him  for  three 
months  from  the  Jewish  Church.  Though  he  had 
already  condemned  himself  to  this  penalty,  he 
entered  a  protest  against  the  sentence,  because  his 
manner  of  life  was  not  radically  in  opposition  to 
Judaism,  and  he  pledged  himself  to  prove  the  il- 
legality of  the  ceremony.  His  protest,  how:ever, 
was  in  vain,  and  he  thought  no  more  about  it,  for  he 
recognized  only  one  ban — that  which  could  banish 
him  from  the  presence  of  Olympia.  His  two  broth- 
ers-in-law then  came,  and  reminded  him  that  he 
must  return  to  the  bosom  of  the  Church.  He  put 
them  off  with  a  quiet  smile;  but  they  became  more 
and  more  violent,  abused  and  cursed  him,  and 
threatened  to  tear  him  in  pieces  if  he  did  not 
avert  the  shame  of  his  manner  of  life  from  his 

Spinoza's  Spanish  blood  boiled,  but  even  then 
he  suppressed  all  explosion  of  wrath.  The  threats 
and  blustering  seemed  to  him  only  immaterial  op- 
position which  he  could  have  pictured  to  himself. 
With  measured  speech  and  kinsmanlike  behavior, 
in  so  far  as  was  consistent  with  independence,  he 
drew  the  limits;  he  taught  their  violence  that  ex- 
ternal behavior  could  not  bind,  and  external  force 
not  convince.  His  words  must  have  contained  con- 
vincing proofs,  for  the  two  looked  at  each  other  in 



mute  astonishment  and  left  him.  A  few  days  after- 
wards, however,  on  the  Sabbath,  Spinoza  was  sur- 
prised by  another  visitor,  a  woman,  carrying  a  baby 
hardly  a  year  old  in  her  arms,  and  leading  a  little 
girl  by  the  hand.  Spinoza  advanced  kindly  towards 

'*  I  am  glad  you  have  come  to  me,  dear  Miriam," 
he  said;  "  but  how  you  have  aged!  Are  you  ill,  or 
in  trouble  ?" 

"  I  am  quite  well,  God  be  praised  !"  answered 
Miriam,  sighing,  "  and  could  not  complain  otherwise. 
Yes,  dear  brother,  '  marrying  is  marring;'  two  bad 
confinements,  thirteen  weeks  in  bed,  and  the  house- 
hold going  to  ruin  all  the  time;  no  rest  at  night 
with  the  children,  and  trouble  and  care  the  whole 
year  round — you  would  not  laugh  at  me  now  for 
looking  too  often  in  the  mirror;  often  I  never  look 
in  it  from  one  Sabbath  to  another." 

"  I  am  very  sorry  that  I  have  seen  so  little  of  you, 
or  been  able  to  help,  you  so  little;  but  leave  the 
cares  behind  now,"  said  Spinoza,  "  they  will  soon 
be  "less.  You  can  hardly  think  what  an  infinite 
pleasure  it  is  to  have  you  with  me  again.  Relations 
are  naturally  the  best  friends.  Do  you  remember 
old  Chaje's  proverb  ?  *  Bind  me  hand  and  foot, 
and  throw  me  among  my  people,  that  will  always 
be  true.'  " 

•'  Ay  !  you  will  be  thrown  nicely  among  your 
people.     O   God  !    from    the  way  you  go  on,  we 

38o  SPINOZA, 

cannot  see  you  without  blushing.  Do  you  know 
what  is  happening  to-day  ?  To-day  you  are  sum- 
moned the  second  time  in  the  synagogue;  perhaps 
at  this  very  moment  in  which  we  are  speaking.  A 
week  ago  I  was  in  the  synagogue;  my  heart  is  so 
heavy,  it  seems  as  if  a  hundredweight  lay  on  it. 
When  we  had  all  risen,*  Rabbi  Isaak  Aboab  (who 
gives  himself  great  airs  since  he  returned  from 
Brazil)  went  to  the  altar;  all  were  still,  and  looked 
to  see  what  he  would  do  next.  He  called  on  your 
name;  and  commanded  you  to  return,  if  you  would 
not  have  heaven's  lightnings  smite  you,  or  the 
earth  swallow  you  up.  Dear  brother,  I  thought  my 
heart  would  be  torn  out.  I  turned  icy  cold,  and 
then  flames  seemed  to  be  before  my  eyes;  I  thought 
I  should  fall  down,  and  grasped  the  railing;  I 
fainted  time  after  time;  I  don't  know  how  I  found 
strength  to  go  home;  Esther  de  Leon,  who  stood 
near  me,  went  home  with  me.  You  know  she  is  a 
malicious,  mocking  thing;  but  she  ought  to  be 
silent,  for  she  was  once  Acosta's  betrothed,  and  you 
are  not  as  bad  as  he  yet,  thank  God!" 

"  No,  and  will  never  be." 

"  But  it  is  bad  enough  now,"  began  Miriam  again; 
*'  to-day  is  the  second  time,  and  in  a  week  you  will 
be  summoned  for  the  third  time,  and  then — I  shall 
never  survive  the  shame  of  it.     My  husband  will 

*  For  the  Thora  to  be  replaced. 


order  me  to  forget  that  you  ever  were  my  brother 
— and  how  can  I  do  that  ?  It  seems  you  could,  for 
if  you  can  forget  your  religion,  why  should  you  not 
forget  your  sister." 

Miriam  with  these  words  looked  at  her  brother's 
agitated  face;  she  seemed  sorry  to  have  given  him 
so  much  pain,  and  continued  weeping: 

"Day  and  night  you  are  always  in  my  mind;  I 
forget  my  duties  as  mother  and  wife,  and  it  is  all 
your  fault;  it  is  the  thought  of  your  disregard  of 
duty  that  makes  me  do  it.  I  cannot  think  what 
makes  you  so  obstinate,  but  I  know  this:  if  my  son 
should  one  day  cause  such  trouble  to  his  sisters, 
I  would  rather  he  should  die  before  he  learned  to 

"  You  must  not  say  so,  dear  sister;  I  hope  all  will 
come  right  yet.  Does  not  your  husband  know  you 
have  come  to  me  ?" 

"  He  must  not  know  a  word  of  it.  Only  think, 
he  wanted  me  to  go  to  the  synagogue  this  morning, 
but,  God  forgive  me  !  I  would  rather  go  to  the 
gallows;  the  women  would  look  at  me,  and  whisper 
and  giggle  together.  I  said  I  should  be  obliged  to 
stay  with  the  children,  and  came  to  you;  Rebecca 
stayed  at  home  too,  but  she  has  not  dared  to  come 
with  me;  her  husband  is  too  stern.  I  cannot  see, 
though,  why  you  will  not  return.  You  know,  I  do 
not  care  about  trifles,  and  do  not  condemn  you  like 
the  others;   but  the  life  you  lead   now,  you  could 

382  SPINOZA. 

lead  just  as  well  if  you  lived  like  other  Jews.  If 
you  don't  want  to  go  three  times  to  the  synagogue, 
you  can  go  once,  and  that  cannot  be  much  trouble 
to  you.  You  see,  you  would  still  have  to  live,  if, 
God  forbid  it  !  you  were  shut  up  in  a  House  of 
Correction;  would  it  not  be  much  worse  ?  No 
Sabbath,  no  holiday,  what  would  you  live  for?  I 
entreat  you  to  come  back;  let  other  people  trouble 
themselves  about  what  belongs  to  religion,  and 
what  not.  I  believe  you  are  right  in  many  things, 
and  I  will  listen  to  you  in  secret,  if  you  must  con- 
fide in  some  one;  but  what  is  the  use  of  letting  all 
the  world  know  ?  I  know  well  enough  you  men 
will  not  put  up  with  things  that  we  women  must 
bear  and  endure;  but  yow — you  are  quite  different: 
from  childhood  you  always  gave  up  to  others  will- 
ingly. Be  what  you  used  to  be  again;  believe  me, 
you  cannot  be  otherwise,  it  will  break  your  heart 
to  try  any  other  rule.  Control  yourself  now  rather, 
and  come  back.  O  God  !  if  you  were  with  us  again, 
we  should  be  as  happy  and  as  much  respected  as 
we  ever  were.  I  will  read  your  wishes  in  your  eyes, 
I  will  lay  my  hands  under  your  feet;  with  lifted 
hands  I  entreat  you  to  come  back  to  us." 

Spinoza  with  difficulty  mastered  his  agitation 
sufficiently  to  explain  to  his  sister  that  he  was  fully 
determined  to  defend  himself  against  the  Rabbis, 
that  they  might  not  succeed  in  degrading  either 
himself  or  his  family;  he  would  not  merely  break 

MlSSlOMAktES.  3^3 

their  power  in  his  own  case,  but  in  that  of  others 
also  in  which  they  would  have  put  free  thought 
under  a  ban. 

"  I  believe  it,  I  believe  it  !"  cried  Miriam  enthu- 
siastically; "you  only  want  what  is  right;  you  are 
better  than  all  the  rest  of  the  world.  But  believe 
me  too,  I  have  learned  to  know  mankind  since  this 
misfortune  has  come  through  you.  You  wish  to 
offer  yourself  as  sacrifice  for  others  ?  You  are  too 
good,  you  are  the  crown  of  mankind;  the  others  are 
not  worthy  that  a  hair  of  your  head  should  be  in- 
jured for  them." 

Spinoza  was  deeply  moved  as  he  looked  at  his 
sister,  who  loved  him  so  well  that  for  his  love's 
sake  she  rejected  all  others.  Miriam  might  have 
known  the  movement  of  his  heart,  for,  with  a  wail 
of  grief,  she  threw  herself  on  his  neck  and  cried, 

"You  cannot  and  you  must  not  for  the  world's 
sake  offer  up  yourself  and  us  too.  Or  is  it  true  that 
you  wish  to  wed  a  Christian  ?" 

Spinoza  was  in  a  painful  dilemma.  To  lie  was 
as  foreign  to  his  nature  as  night  to  day;  and  yet 
he  hesitated  how  to  explain  to  his  sister  that  his 
intellect  had  led  him  over  the  boundaries  of  church 
dogmas,  whither  love  was  his  only  guide. 

An  unexpected  circumstance  freed  him  from 
the  necessity  of  further  explanation.  The  two 
children,  seeing  their  mother  crying  on  their 
uncle's  neck,   began    to   cry   and  scream    also,   so 

384  SPINOZA. 

that  Miriam  forgot  her  question  in  pacifying  her 

"  Benjamin,"  she  said  to  the  boy,  who  was  first 
pacified,  "  Benjamin,  entreat  your  uncle  not  to  leave 
us.  Ah  !  the  child  has  our  late  father's  name,  who 
would  weep  and  wail  too  if  he  saw  you;  he  cannot 
rest  quietly  in  his  grave  if  he  hears  what  has  be- 
come of  you."  Spinoza  took  the  boy  in  his  arms, 
and  embraced  and  kissed  him. 

"  As  little  as  this  child  condemns  me,  as  little 
would  my  father  condemn  me  in  eternity,"  he  said. 
Little  Sarah,  too,  played  with  her  uncle's  hand,  and 
asked  him,  on  her  mother's  bidding,  to  go  with 
them.  Spinoza  repeated  his  assurance  that  he 
could  defend  himself;  and  Miriam  with  a  heavy 
heart  took  her  children  away  with  her. 

He  had  to  sustain  another  conflict  on  account  of 
his  decision  that  day.  Towards  evening  Rodrigo 
Casseres  came  to  him. 

"  You  have  no  father  now,"  he  said,  "  I  must 
take  his  place.  Do  you  remember  the  time  you 
saw  me  first  ?  You  too  will  have  a  cur's  burial 
like  that  renegade.  Do  you  remember  the  evening 
when  I  told  you  of  your  uncle  Geronimo's  dreadful 
death  ?  You  too  will  die  like  that;  only  more  God- 
forsaken, more  torn  by  the  devil,  for  you  have 
trodden  down  the  creed  of  your  fathers  of  your 
own  free-will.  Your  father,  I  and  all  of  us,  for 
what  have  we  staked  our  lives  day  after  day  ?     For 




the  holy  faith  of  our  fathers.  Why  have  we  left 
our  beautiful  native  land  and  wandered  into  far 
countries  ?  That  we  might  openly  serve  our  faith 
in  peace;  and  you  reject  it  of  your  own  free-will. 
I  warn  you  while  there  is  yet  time;  you  are  young 
now,  but  when  you  approach  your  end,  your 
treachery  will  follow  you  when  you  wake,  and 
murder  your  sleep." 

Spinoza  had  regard  to  the  man's  age,  and  quietly 
represented  to  him  his  firm  decision  and  his  in- 

For  a  week  he  was  free  from  attempts  at  con- 
version, and  during  this  time  he  worked  out  a  plan 
of  defence;  and  while  employing  for  this  purpose 
the  authority  of  the  Sacred  Scriptures,  he  formed 
new  conclusions  and  became  more  firm  and  decided 
in  those  he  had  long  ago  formed.  What  had  been 
suppressed  in  the  development  of  silent  thought, 
whether  by  innate  shyness  or  under  cover  of  stated 
facts,  now  shot  up  with  renewed  strength  in  the 
hot  conflict  of  defence.  Spinoza,  too,  now  felt 
that  warlike  spirit,  that  concentrated  power,  which 
strengthens  ordinary  forces  and  makes  them  rise 
above  themselves. 

For  the  next  exhortation  which  was  addressed 
to  him  he  did  not  require  this  power. 

On  the  Sabbath,  as  he  sat  at  table  enjoying  his 
simple  mid-day  meal,  he  heard  some  one  heavily 
mounting  the  stairs;  the  door  opened,  and  old  Chaje 

386  SPINOZA. 

entered  the  room.  Spinoza  drew  a  chair  to  the 
table  for  her,  and  asked: 

"  Have  they  sent  you  out  too,  to  bring  back  the 
lost  sheep  to  the  flock  ?" 

"  No,  as  true  as  I  wish  God  may  let  me  see  joy 
in  him  again,  I  came  here  of  my  own  wish.  I 
thought  my  old  legs  would  break  before  I  got  up 
the  stairs.  I  did  not  believe  any  of  them.  I  wanted 
to  hear  with  my  own  ears  if  it  were  true  that  he 
would  reject  our  holy  religion;  he  was  once  a 
brave,  pious  Jewish  child." 

Spinoza  remarked  in  silence  the  influence  that 
the  report  spread  about  him  must  have  had,  for 
old  Chaje  in  her  zeal  almost  forgot  his  presence, 
and  appeared  to  talk  to  herself  about  him. 

"  Who  knows  that  ?"  asked  Spinoza. 

"  Who  knows  it  ?  A  fine  secret !  The  children 
in  the  street  talk  about  it.  O  Lord,  how  often 
have  I  carried  him  in  my  arms  !  Who  would  have 
thought  then  that  he  could  become  such  a  one  as 
this?  What  is  true,  is  true;  the  sister  of  Black 
Gudul,  who  was  servant  at  Rabbi  Aboab's,  said 
long  ago  Baruch  was  a  hypocrite;  where  he  will  be 
the  Rabbi,  the  congregation  will  get  baptized.  I 
always  thought,  if  I  should  close  my  eyes  after  liv- 
ing over  a  hundred  years, — I  have  neither  kith  nor 
kin  in  the  world,  more's  the  pity, — I  would  leave 
Baruch  my  little  bit  of  fortune  that  I  have  saved  up, 
and  that  he  would  have  said  prayers  for  my  soul; 


that  I,  too,  might  have  a  silver  chair  in  Gan-Eden.* 
Ah  !  my  wishes  and  hopes  have  melted  away." 

Chaje  wept  bitterly.  Spinoza  tried  to  console 

"  He  leads  me  too  into  sin  by  making  me  weep 
on  the  Sabbath;  it  has  knocked  another  nail  in  my 
coffin,"  she  wailed.  "  I  would  like  to  know  what  he 
can  be  thinking  of.  Has  the  Jewish  religion  been 
right  for  so  many  thousand  years  that  it  should  be 
thrown  aside  now  like  a  broken  pot  ?  He  must  be 
possessed,  I  do  believe;  why  should  he  have  abused 
the  Jews  and  the  Jewish  religion  ?  '  Cut  off  your 
nose  and  spite  your  face,*  the  proverb  says.  He 
will  try  and  please  me  and  be  good  and  pious 
again,  won't  he  ?  He  will  surely  thank  me  on  his 
deathbed,  when  he  follows  me.  It  was  only  youth- 
ful folly,  and  that  is  soon  forgotten.  The  grass 
need  only  grow  over  it  a  year,  and  then  he  might 
choose  among  the  daughters  of  the  richest  men  in 

Spinoza  was  nearly  powerless  against  old  Chaje's 
talk;  on  her  no  explanation  had  any  effect;  she 
would  not  go  away  until  he  had  promised  to  be 
pious  and  good  again.  At  last  he  had  to  give  her 
plainly  to  understand  that  she  must  take  her  de- 
parture. Olympia  prophesied  aright  when  she  said 
pilgrimages  would  one  day  be  made  to  Spinoza,  but 

*  Paradise. 

388  SPINOZA. 

the  pilgrimage  was  first  made  to  Maledictus.  The 
day  after  Spinoza  had  got  rid  of  old  Chaje,  the 
physician  Solomon  de  Silva  came  to  him.  He  be- 
gan with  professional  inquiries,  and  told  Spinoza 
that  his  present  way  of  life  was  undermining  his 
health;  but  he-4::eplied  that  two  of  his  friends  were 
physicians,  that  he  observed  diet,  and  was  always 
fairly  well.     Silva  then  drove  his  probe  deeper. 

"  I  confess,"  he  said,  "  that  Judaism  contains 
many  abuses  and  abnormal  developments  which 
ought  to  be  got  rid  of;  when  I  was  your  age  it 
used  to  weigh  on  my  mind  too.  The  impetuosity 
of  youth  always  wants  hastily  to  cut  away  what 
displeases  it,  but  that  will  not  do;  men  must  first 
win  respect  and  confidence,  and  not  shock  people; 
then  later  on  something  may  be  permitted  to  you, 
and  you  can  carry  out  your  plans  by  degrees." 

"  The  Talmud  teaches  that  you  should  keep  no 
false  measures  in  your  house,"  answered  Spinoza. 
''  Does  that  not  refer  here  ?" 

"In  any  case,"  persisted  the  physician,  "time 
and  opportunity  are  to  be  considered;  these  every- 
day conditions  have  at  least  their  natural  rights 
as  much  as  abstract  logical  thoughts.  The  first 
rule  is,  that  whoever  wishes  to  influence  any  asso- 
ciation and  work  seasonable  and  reasonable  re- 
forms, must  never  place  himself  outside  that  as- 
sociation. Therefore  I  counsel  you  to  return; 
remember  there  are  other  people  who  have  seen 


the  light  of  reason,  but  who  do  not  care  to  over- 
throw the  old  observances  all  at  once.  Much  has 
happened  latterly  for  the  suggestion  of  which  any 
one  would  have  been  stoned  fifty  years  ago;  and  it 
is  ever  so  with  progress.  You  see,  our  whole  Low- 
country  home  is  a  type  of  our  religion.  Dams  are 
built,  canals  dug,  to  bind  and  restrain  the  wild 
power  of  the  elements;  on  these  dams  life  again 
appears,  and  the  canals  become  connecting  roads 
which  hold  men  together.  The  power  of  centuries 
lies  in  these  wise  precautions.  Common  men  even 
will  keep  this  land  sacred,  because  they  know  that 
the  labor  of  races  passed  away  has  wrung  it  from 
the  sea.  If  any  one  should  come  and  find  a  better, 
must  he  pierce  the  dams,  destroy  the  work  of  his 
forefathers,  and  for  a  short  time  annihilate  fruitful 
fields,  and  populous  villages  and  towns,  now  built 
on  dry  land  ?  It  is  thus  with  our  religion.  Do  not 
tear  down  the  dams.  Do  not  !  If  you  return, 
there  are  many  clear  heads  with  whom,  perhaps 
indeed  at  their  head,  you  can  help  to  reform 

"  Who  told  you  I  wanted  to  do  so  ?  Perhaps 
Judaism  is  nothing  more  to  me  than  its  offshoot, 
Christianity — a  development  of  mind  followed  by 
others.  In  the  first  place,  I  want  nothing  but  to 
retain  my  independent  life,  and  in  that  the  power 
of  no  Rabbi  shall  hinder  me." 

"Have  you  forgotten,"  asked  Silva,  "what  you 



told  me  when  we  came  to  this  room  for  the  first 
time  with  your  late  father  ?  The  time  may  come 
when  you  will  feel  deserted  by  all  who  belong  to 
you  by  bonds  of  kindred  and  religion;  you  will 
stretch  out  your  hands  to  them,  and  grasp  naught 
but  empty  air.  I  know  too  wxU  how  far  your  free 
thought  has  carried  you;  I  do  not  believe  you  will 
turn  Christian.'  Trust  my  experience,  if  you  reach 
the  highest  point  of  free-thought,  and  have  shaken 
off  all  prejudice  or  doctrinal  peculiarity,  you  are, 
and  will  always  remain,  a  Jew  to  them;  they  will 
always  look  upon  you  as  a  foreigner.  They  have 
imbibed  hatred  and  aversion  to  the  Jews  with  their 
mothers'  milk;  you  waste  your  love  on  them. 
What  good  they  may  discover  in  you,  they  will  set 
down  as  exceptional;  if  you  strive  for  wealth  and 
honor,  they  will  say  it  is  Jewish  avarice  and  ambi- 
tion; if  you  hold  both  cheap,  they  will  say  he  has 
acquired  a  little  Christian  modesty  and  scorn  of 
worldly  wealth.  They  will  think  you  charming 
and  inimitable  if  you  mock  at  Jewish  folly;  but  if 
you  attack  one  of  their  own  prejudices,  even  if  they 
themselves  had  long  ago  made  a  jest  of  it,  you 
must  not  do  it,  and  if  you  do  it,  you  are  a  pert, 
obtrusive  Jew.  It  is  the  same  in  this  as  in  other 
things  in  life:  we  confess  our  faults,  and  blame 
ourselves  for  them;  but  if  another  does  it,  we  are 
annoyed.  Sooner  will  the  heavens  kiss  the  earth, 
or  fire  and  water  unite,  than  a  Jew  and  a  Christian 



embrace  in  true,  tender,  all-forgetting  love  and 
union.  Ay,  and  if  you  are  baptized,  the  first  defect 
they  discover  in  you,  it  is  the  old  Jewish  Adam  ap- 
pearing. So  return  to  your  own  people,  who  love 
you  truly,  and  on  whose  neck  rests  the  same  yoke; 
they  will  receive  you  with  brotherly  love,  and  for- 
get your  backsliding." 

**  No,"  said  Spinoza,  "  you  have  committed  a  sore 
sin  against  God  and  human  nature  by  your  words; 
it  would  be  too  horrible  if  they  were  true,  but  they 
are  not.  It  is  indeed  possible  for  man  to  belong 
to  man;  love  and  comprehension  are  more  durable 
than  hatred  and  prejudice.  Is  the  human  mind 
originally  Jewish  or  Christian  ?  Well !  I  shall  see 
in  time  whether  you  speak  the  truth." 

"  Do  not;  why  should  you  be  ruined  ?  *  Whoever 
would  purify  himself,  men  will  come  to  his  help; 
but  he  who  would  defile  himself,  men  let  him 
alone,*  says  the  Talmud.  I  will  make  you  a  good 
proposition.  The  congregation  offer  you  a  place 
in  the  Beth-Din;  you  can  follow  your  studies  un- 
disturbed, for  you  have  little  to  do  there." 

"I  will  never  accept  office." 

"  The  congregation  will  guarantee  you  a  salary 
of  a  thousand  gulden,  on  condition  that  you  will 
promise  on  your  honor  never  to  write  a  word 
against  Judaism." 

"  The  proverb  says,  '  If  the  people  wish  to 
silence   a   man,   they  must   stop   his   mouth   with 



broth/  replied  Spinoza.  "It  is  a  practical  and 
politic  method,  but  not  applicable  to  my  case.  My 
dear  doctor,  I  do  not  want  you  to  be  angry  with 
me,  but  .what  are  such  proposals  to  me  ?" 

"  I  only  told, you  of  them  to  fulfil  my  commission; 
I  personally  have  something  else  to  say  to  you. 
Youth  will  not  see  that  there  is  really  no  such 
thing  as  absolute  truth,  that  such  a  thing  cannot 
exist  in  the  world,  because  it  would  be  tyrannically 
absolute.  He  who  knows  the  fate  of  man,  and  has 
lived  a  long  life  of  his  own,  knows  that  historical 
truth  alone  is  worth  anything.  You  are  too  modest 
and  humble  to  be  a  scoffer;  you  see,  even  God 
allows  the  many-sidedness  of  truth;  grant — " 

"  And  my  intelligence  of  Him  obliges  me  to  fol- 
low that  perception." 

"  Hold  firmly  to  that,  and  at  the  same  time  hold 
to  the  conditions  of  history.  Whether  you  come  to 
my  conviction  that  no  philosophy  can  reveal  the 
secrets  of  the  world  further  than  the  Jewish  revela- 
tion, or  whether  you  are  of  another  opinion,  and 
accept  the  Messianic  time  as  one  in  which  your  ab- 
solute intellectual  truth  reigns  ;  look  back:  if  it 
were  for  nothing  but  the  memory  of  the  innumera- 
ble multitude  who  were  murdered  for  our  faith, 
this  alone  must  keep  us  fast  within  its  sacred  walls. 
A  religion  which  despises  the  joys  of  life,  and 
teaches  love  of  a  fearful  death  for  its  sake,  must  it 
not  contain  the  first  spring  of  truth  ?    Who  would 



dam  it  up  with  a  rash  hand  because  in  course  of 
time  it  runs  muddily  ?  The  blood  of  your  brothers 
and  sisters  murdered  in  the  past  cries  to  Heaven 
for  vengeance  on  you,  for  you  defile  their  honorable 
graves  by  writing  on  their  tombstones  that  they 
died  for  illusion  and  error." 

"I  do  not  do  so;  it  is  calumny  to  say  so  of  me: 
the  Jewish  laws  are  great  and  holy  to  me;  in  them 
the  Godhead  for  those  times  most  clearly  revealed 
himself;  blessed  are  they  who  know  and  live  ac- 
cording to  them;  but  has  the  Divinity  since  those 
times  ceased  to  live  in  the  minds  of  men  ?  Are  all 
later  born  races  doomed  to  stop  where  the  former 
stood,  and  fetter  themselves  with  old  forms?  The 
form  fades,  the  spirit  remains  eternal,  renewed  in 
youth,  and  increasing  ever  in  strength." 

"A  powerful  mind  is  in  you,"  began  Silva  again, 
controlling  himself;  "  your  moderation  assures  me 
that  you  will  be  a  great  man.  Weak  natures  are 
violent  and  wrathful  in  controversy,  but  never  the 
strong.  Do  not  throw  a  stone  in  the  well  you  have 
drunk  from.  Your  resolution  to  freely  sacrifice  all 
for  the  truth,  you  have  inherited  from  the  Jews. 
Be  thankful.  Show  your  power  by  self-control,  be 
faithful  to  yourself  and  your  own,  and  be  not  led 
away  to  apostasy." 

"There  is  no  apostasy  but  from  ourselves." 

"  We  shall  all  honor  you,  I  above  the  rest,  if  you 
control  yourself," 



^' And  I  shall  be  disgraced  in  my  own  eyes." 

Confusion  and  dejection  were  seen  in  Silva's 
face;  everything,  even  just  appreciation  of  his 
virtue,  was  in  vain  with  Spinoza.  The  physician 
rose  and  cried: 

"  Alas  !  you  are  lost.  I  can  only  pray  to  God  to 
let  in  the  light  of  day  on  you,  that  the  ignis  fatuus 
which  leads  you  into  marsh  and  slough  may 

Tears  stood  in  Silva's  eyes  as  he  spoke;  he 
turned  and  went  away.  Spinoza  was  deeply  moved 
by  the  conversation;  he  was  much  pained  to  have 
so  grieved  the  reverend  old  man,  and  not  to  be 
able  to  obey  him;  but  how  otherwise  could  he  or 
durst  he  act  ? 

It  was  much  easier  for  Spinoza  to  dismiss  the 
last  tempter.  In  the  afternoon  Chisdai  came,  and 
as  soon  as  he  had  entered  the  door  he  threw  him- 
self on  the  floor  and  sat  as  if  mourning. 

"What  is  that  for?"  said  Spinoza. 

"  Alas  !"  cried  Chisdai,  muttering  to  the  floor, 
without  raising  his  head,  "  has  the  unclean  spirit  in 
thee  made  thee  forget  everything  ?  Do  you  no 
longer  know  the  story  of  Rabbi  Eliezer  ben  Hyr- 
kanos  ?" 

"Very  well;  he  wanted  to  prove  his  view  of  the 
permissible  use  of  a  baker's  oven  by  miracles,  and 
was  excommunicated  for  it.  No  one  would  take 
him  the  news  till  Rabbi  Akiba  did  as  you  are  doing 



here.  Am  I  not  still  a  good  Talmudist  ?  But  get 
up;  I  can  neither  tell  a  tree  to  place  itself  elsewhere, 
nor  water  that  it  should  flow  backwards,  nor  the 
walls  either  that  they  should  bend  inward;  they 
none  of  them  obey  me." 

"So  !"  cried  Chisdai,  springing  up,  and  shaking 
his  fist  fiercely,  "  so  you  mock  at  the  Talmud  too  ? 
You  see  I  came  here  in  peace;  I  would  have  warned 
you  to  fear  God,  and  showed  you  that  I  did  not 
oppose  you  in  jealousy  or  any  other  base  passion; 
but  words  are  lost  on  you.  Go  thy  ways  !  The 
carrion  crows  beside  the  stream  will  peck  out  thine 
eyes,  and  the  young  eagles  devour  them." 

"  You  can  pervert  the  Bible,  like  a  good  Tal- 
mudist  as  you  are;  the  Scriptures  only  lay  that 
curse  on  one  who  mocks  at  and  scorns  his  father 
and  mother." 

"That  you  have  done  seventy  times  seven,  you 
reprobate.  But  your  punishment  will  not  tarry; 
you  will  yet  be  stoned  to  death,  and  men  will  cast 
stones  in  heaps  on  thy  carcass,  for  a  warning  to  all 
coming  generations.  Take  heed  to  thyself;  if  I  get 
thee  into  my  hands  Twill  tear  thee  as  men  tear  fish, 
until  thy  breath  can  no  longer  poison  the  air." 

"Talmud  again,"  laughed  Spinoza;  "but  re- 
member the  Talmud  also  says,  *  It  is  good  that  the 
ass  hath  no  horns.' " 

Chisdai  foamed  at  the  mouth  with  rage,  but 
hearing  some  one  on  the  stairs  he  went  out. 

396  ^Pij\rozA, 

"  What  sort  of  a  featherless  biped  is  it  that  has 
just  left  you  ?"  said  Meyer,  entering;  "he  looks  like 
an  incarnate  original  sin." 

Spinoza  laughed  heartily  at  the  description. 

"  You  have  ridden  your  hobby  horse  to  the  right 
post  this  time,"  said  he;  ''but  this  original  sin 
wanted  to  lead  me  back  into  the  Jewish  paradise." 

Meyer  exhorted  him  to  oppose  the  Jewish  Papacy 
with  all  his  usual  power  and  firmness,  and  as  he 
soon  took  his  leave,  Spinoza  too  went  out. 

For  the  first  time  he  felt  not  at  home  alone 
within  his  own  four  walls;  he  found  it  impossible 
to  concentrate  his  mind  as  formerly  on  the  investi- 
gation of  any  particular  line  of  thought;  he  needed 
a  friendly  cheerful  heart  with  whom  he  could  un- 
bend, and  forget  the  storm  of  the  day.  Where 
should  he  seek  it  if  not  with  Olympia  ?  He  went 
there,  and  found  her  in  confidential  conversation 
with  Kerkering.  He  thought  both  looked  strangely 
surprised  when  he  entered;  he  guessed  rightly  that 
he  had  been  the  subject  of  their  conversation. 

Olympia,  as  usual,  easily  mastered  her  agitation. 

"  You  appeared  to  me  in  a  dream  last  night,  Herr 
von  Spinoza,"  she  said  in  the  course  of  conversa- 
tion; "  you  must  guess  in  what  form." 

"You  believe  in  neither  angels  nor  devils;  per- 
haps you  saw  me  in  the  form  of  a  monk  ?" 

"  No,  guess  again." 

"An  Emperor?" 



"A  Rabbi?     A  Pope?" 

**  No,  you  are  not  guessing  now,  I  know.  I  saw 
you  as  Masaniello,  with  a  fishing  net  on  your  back; 
your  red  embroidered  cap  with  the  long  tassel 
suited  your  coal-black  hair,  and  your  sleeves  were 
rolled  up  above  your  elbows.  I  saw  you  carried 
through  the  streets  that  way,  by  a  crowd  of  Jews, 
to  the  new  Town  Hall;  there  you  climbed  up  to 
the  golden  ship  on  the  tower  and  cried:  '  Fellow- 
citizens,  you  who,  as  Erasmus  of  Rotterdam  says, 
live  like  crows  on  the  tops  of  trees  !  I  see  your 
fork-like  chimneys  and  your  double-faced  gables, 
I  see  the  canals  and  dams  that  intersect  your  land, 
and  your  life  that  flows  on  as  much  contracted,  and 
without  free  tide,  in  the  preordained  way.  I  tell 
you,  this  will  all  be  changed.  I  erase  the  "  You 
should  "  from  your  book  of  life,  and  in  my  doctrine 
write  it,  "  You  must,  for  you  can."  You  think  fish 
are  mute  ?  It  is  not  true.  I  have  caught  a  legion 
from  the  depth  of  the  sea,  who  all  speak  wisdom.' 
Then  you  took  your  net  from  your  back,  it  was 
empty;  you  turned  it  round,  and  an  infinite  number 
of  fish  fell  out;  they  glittered  beautifully  in  the  sun, 
their  fins  became  wings,  and  they  fluttered  away 
screaming.  You,  however,  remained  there,  and 
uttered  a  Philippic  against  the  legend  that,  on  the 
day  on  which  the  envoys  of  the  Seven  United  Pro- 
vinces  should  go  through  the  seven  doors  of  the 

398  SPINOZA. 

finished  Town  Hall  the  good-fortune  of  each  pro- 
vince would  desert  it  and  never  return.  And  then 
you  explained  how  your  philosophy  corresponded 
with  the  water  communication  of  our  land;  how 
they  could  break  and  control  storms  and  tides;  how 
men  could  drain  flooded  land  from  the  stream  of 
sensations,  and  make  it  dry  and  fertile;  everything 
was  perfectly  clear,  I  understood  it  quite  well  in  my 
dream.  Now  I  am,  unfortunately,  as  unphilosophi- 
cal  again  as  the  grauw — the  crowd — who  roared 
and  shrieked,  '  He  is  a  wizard,  he  is  a  son  of  the 
Devil! '  and  pulled  down  the  Town  Hall.  I  awoke. 
If  you  only  possessed  some  of  Daniel's  art  !" 

Spinoza  asked  if  she  had  spoken  to  Frau  Ger- 
trui  lately;  Olympia  protested  she  had  not  seen  her 
for  several  weeks.  It  was  really  a  strange  coin- 
cidence, for  Spinoza  had  two  days  ago  begun  the 
odd  freak  of  drawing  his  own  portrait  as  Masaniello. 
He  told  Olympia  nothing  of  this,  because  he  knew 
that  she  was  much  given,  in  spite  of  her  free-think- 
ing opinions,  to  building  up  wonderful  theories  of 
premonition.  To-day,  too,  he  did  not  feel  at  ease 
with  her.  Was  it  the  presence  of  Kerkering,  or  was 
it  because  he  had  come  there  with  a  full  heart, 
and  saw  too  late  that  he  should  find  no  sympathy 
here  in  his  painful  conflict  ?  An  undefined  uncer- 
tainty and  doubt  pervaded  his  connection  with 
Olympia.  He  saw  that  Kerkering  became  more  and 
more  familiar  with  her,  and  she  did  not,  as  formerly. 



keep  him  jestingly  at  a  distance.  He  even  thought 
he  perceived  a  secret  understanding  between  them. 
When  he  left,  Olympia  said: 

"  Your  sister  Rebecca  came  to  me  to-day.  I  was 
to  persuade  you  to  submit  to  the  Rabbis." 

Spinoza  bowed  in  silence.  How  could  she  relate 
her  dream  and  carry  on  such  jests,  instead  of  im- 
parting this  circumstance?  Must  it  not  have  made 
her  heart  full  that  his  sister  should  come  entreat- 
ingly  to  her.?  "You  should  not  expect  others  to 
know  an  emotion  which  you  suppress  in  yourself," 
he  said  to  himself. 

Miriam,  who  had  lived  with  him  in  sisterly  love 
from  childhood,  came  to  him,  and  only  inquired 
shyly  about  his  love;  while  Rebecca,  the  domineer- 
ing, who  had  always  been  estranged  from  him,  went 
straight  to  Olympia.  What  must  she  have  ap- 
peared to  her  ?  Perhaps  she  had  made  his  beloved 
one's  heart  doubtful,  and  given  her  a  dislike  to  his 

Spinoza  felt  his  cheeks  burn.  He  was  on  the 
point  of  cutting  loose  from  all  bonds  of  family  and 
all  chains  of  habit,  but  could  never  endure  these  to 
be  despised. 

Love  and  truth  should  have  stood  by  him  in  the 
conflict  now  opening  on  him.  Did  truth  alone  re- 
main to  him  ? 




AN  innumerable  crowd  lined  the  streets,  praying 
with  folded  hands  to  the  Lord  that  he  would 
protect  the  undertaking  of  their  liberator.  In  front 
rode  the  Imperial  herald  with  the  eagle,  and  the 
soldier  of  God's  Word  followed,  accompanied  by 
travellers  the  same  way  in  shining  steel  and  gor- 
geous accoutrements.  And  when  he  entered  the 
assembly,  his  admirers  climbed  on  the  roofs,  and 
filled  the  streets  and  windows,  for  each  one  esteemed 
himself  highly  favored  who  caught  sight  of  him. 
And  when  he  had  boldly  and  manfully  fought  the 
battle,  he  was  borne  home  in  triumph,  and  a  voice 
was  heard  to  cry,  "  Blessed  are  the  hands  that  bear 
him."  Thus,  in  the  year  15 21,  Martin  Luther  went 
to  Worms,  the  bold  champion  of  the  freedom  of  the 
Divine  Word. 

It  is  hard  to  sustain  a  conflict  with  power  and 
custom  at  any  time;  it  is  painful  to  support  it 
publicly;  but  the  thousand  upturned  sympathetic 
faces  are  like  a  glory  round  the  head  of  the- cham- 
pion, and  raise  his  strength  to  be  the  strength  of 
thousands.  And  if  he  finds  himself  overcome,  he 
has  felt  the  blessings  of  innumerable  hearts  in  whom 


his  ideas  will  live.  How  very  different  it  is  to  gird 
for  a  conflict  without  victory  in  mute  obscurity  ! 

In  the  year  1657  Benedict  Spinoza  went  alone  to 
the  House  of  Jacob  Synagogue  in  Amsterdam,  ac- 
companied by  no  one,  greeted  by  no  one.  The  peo- 
ple who  knew  him  avoided  this  man,  who  was  the 
firmest  champion  of  the  freedom  of  religious 
thought.  He  had  no  old  written  law  to  conquer  for 
the  world  anew;  he  appeared  as  if  he  would  deprive 
it  of  its  strongest  fortress,  since  he  would  have 
naught  but  the  good  old  right  of  free  thought. 

In  the  synagogue  the  ten  Judges  sat  in  their 
seats,  the  president  being  Rabbi  Isaak  Aboab. 
Near  him  sat  Rabbi  Saul  Morteira.  Spinoza  stood 
four  paces  distant  from  him.  Rabbi  Isaak  Aboab 
rose  and  said: 

"With  the  help  of  God  we  are  here  assembled 
to  declare  judgment  and  law  on  thee,  Baruch  ben 
Benjamin  Spinoza.  Swear  to  us  in  the  name  of 
the  Almighty  God  that  thou  wilt  neither  deny  nor 
conceal  anything  from  us,  and  that  thou  wilt  submit 
to  the  sentence  which  the  Lord  shall  make  known 
by  our  mouths." 

"  Deceit  I  know  not,  and  lies  are  far  from  me," 
answered  Spinoza;  "  I  will  submit  to  your  judgment, 
if  you  judge  me  according  to  the  Divine  Word, 
and  not  according  to  the  inclinations  of  your  own 
hearts  and  the  interpretations  of  the  Rabbis." 

A  murmur  rose  in  the  assembly,  but  it  could  be 

402  SPINOZA, 

heard  that  the  almost  universal  opinion  was  that 
the  accused,  by  thus  demurring  to  recognize  their 
authority  unconditionally,  ought  to  be  laid  under 
the  greater  excommunication  without  further  trial. 
Rabbi  Saul  Morteira  called  for  silence. 

*'  Let  us  see,"  he  said,  "  how  far  the  corruption 
of  his  heart  goes.  Say,  renegade,  hast  thou  not 
sinned  against  God  in  the  enjoyment  of  forbidden 
meat  and  drink,  and  by  laboring  on  the  Sabbath  ? 
Hast  thou  not  deserted  the  assembly  of  the  faith- 
ful, and  defamed  the  sacred  name  of  God  and  His 
laws  ?  And  it  is  written,  '  He  who  profaneth  the 
name  of  God  in  secret  shall  be  punished  openly.'  " 

A  pause  ensued.  Spinoza  looked  down,  then 
looking  up  he  replied  in  a  calm  voice: 

"  I  cannot  do  miracles  and  signs,  or  call  upon 
nature  to  stand  by  and  witness  for  me.  In  me  alone 
must  be  shown  the  power  which  proves  the  pres- 
ence of  God  in  every  human  heart.  That  I  stand 
here  before  you,  accused  by  you  who  believe  an- 
other manner  of  life  well  pleasing  to  God,  that  I 
do  not  tremble  and  accuse  myself  of  aught,  accept 
as  a  sign  of  my  love  to  God,  which  I  consider  my 
highest  good.  I  defend  myself  only  on  the  accusa- 
tion of  Sabbath-breaking,  because  this  may  appear 
an  offence  against  the  sacred  law  of  God  in  nature. 
It  is  well  and  advantageous  to  oppressed  men  that 
they  should  hav&  one  day  in  seven  for  rest.  And  it 
is  wise,  for  the  privilege  of   humanity  consists  in 



free  regulation  of  its  powers;  but  who  gives  you  the 
right  to  punish  a  man  for  a  sin  which  he  commits 
against  himself  ?" 

Those  assembled  all  rose  from  their  seats  and 
cried  out  that  they  wowld  no  longer  listen  to  such 
blasphemy;  but  Rabbi  Isaak  Aboab  said: 

"  Let  him  speak.  From  every  word  he  speaks  a 
demon  rises  that  will  cling  round  his  soul  in  his 
extremity;  and  when  he  dies  the  death  of  a  sinner, 
they  will  hang  on  to  him,  and  drag  him  down  to 
the  pit  of  hell.  It  is  our  duty  to  hear  his  whole 
guilt.     Step  forward  and  speak,  witnesses." 

Chisdai  and  Ephraim  advanced;  the  one  proudly 
looking  up,  the  other  looking  down  ashamed. 

"He  has  blasphemed  God  and  the  prophets  in 
our  hearing,  denied  the  angels,  and  mocked  at  the 
miracles;  and  that  he  has  done  all  this  I  swear  be- 
fore the  face  of  the  eternal  God." 

"  I  swear,  too,  that  Chisdai  has  spoken  the  truth," 
said  Ephraim  in  a  low  voice. 

"  What  answer  do  you  make  ?"  asked  Morteira; 
and  Spinoza  replied: 

"  I  have  not  blasphemed  the  prophets.  Indeed  I 
honor  them  better  than  those  who  wreathe  their 
heads  with  the  false  glory  of  infallibility;  who  rob 
them  of  the  divine  majesty  of  human  greatness, 
and  degrade  them  to  idols.  Go  forth  and  see,  did 
the  sun  stand  still  in  Gibeon  ?  I  have  denied  the 
angels  ?     Has  not  Rabbi  Joseph  Albo  already  said 

404  SPINOZA, 

openly,  that  belief  in  the  existence  of  angels  was 
immaterial  and  unnecessary  ?  I  have  mocked  at 
the  miracles  ?  What  do  you  accuse  me  of  ?  Open 
at  the  passage  where  Balaam's  ass  speaks,  and  look 
what  Ebn  Esra  says  there.  I  have  blasphemed 
God  ?  I  pity  thee  that  thou  knowest  not  that  no 
human  intellect  which  follows  its  innate  laws  can 
escape  him." 

•'  Have  you  not  said,"  interrupted  Chisdai — "  woe 
is  me  that  I  must  speak  it  after  you  ! — have  you  not 
said  that  in  the  Holy  Scriptures  many  imperfect 
and  false  ideas  of  the  nature  of  God  are  to  be 
found  ?" 

"  I  think  I  honor  God  more  than  you  by  that. 
Is  not  God  called  'great'  in  the  Bible,  and  is  there 
a  'greatness' without  limited  extension  in  space? 
It  is  true  the  Bible  can  only  be  explained  by  itself. 
It  carries  the  ground  of  its  truths  in  itself.  It  will 
not  be  measured  by  the  laws  of  intellect;  but  neither 
will  it  overrule  them.  The  reason  God  has  given 
us,  therefore,  is  no  less  divine,  and  can  and  must 
create  its  ideal  of  God  for  itself,  and  find  in  itself 
what  is  necessary  to  the  leading  of  a  godly  life. 
The  Bible  itself  recognizes  this  sacred  right  of  our 
Reason,  in  recognizing  a  godly  war  of  life  in  the 
men  who  lived  before  the  revelation  on  Sinai, 
while  it  detracts  from  the  truth  in  the  law-giving  of 
Moses  as  a  merely  temporal  revelation,  by  saying: 
*  It  is  not  in  heaven,  that  thou  shouldest  say,  Who 


shall  go  for  us  to  heaven,  and  bring  it  unto  us,  that 
we  may  hear  it,  and  do  it  ?  But  the  word  is  very- 
nigh  unto  thee,  in  thy  mouth,  and  in  thy  heart, 
that  thou  mayest  do  it.'  In  our  reason,  on  the 
height  of  pure  religious  thought,  there  is  our  Sinai. 
I  will  faithfully  and  openly  explain  to  you  my 
views  of  higher  things;  if  you  refute  me  by  reason, 
"I  will  submit  to  you." 

"  You  have  appealed  to  the  Holy  Scriptures," 
cried  Morteira.  ''  Woe  !  that  thy  tongue  was  not 
burned  to  ashes,  that  thou  venturedst  to  take  its 
holy  words  thereon;  what  would  you  have  with 
your  Baal,  Reason  ?" 

"  Destroy  him  if  you  can,"  replied  Spinoza. 

Rabbi  Isaak  Aboab  had  till  now  quietly  listened 
to  the  discussion;  now  he  rose  and  cried: 

"The  measure  is  full;  you  are  all  agreed  with 
me  that  this  epicurean  has  deserved  the  extremest 
chastisement  of  Gehinom." 

All  present  answered  with  an  audible  "Amen," 
and  Aboab  continued: 

"  Now  I  ask  of  thee,  Baruch  ben  Benjamin  Spi- 
noza, wilt  thou  recant  thy  blasphemous  words,  and 
submit  thee  to  the  penance  that  is  due  on  that 
account,  or  wilt  thou  that  the  highest  curse  of  ex- 
communication be  passed  on  thee  ?" 

"  Refute  me  by  Reason  and  I  will  recant  !  You 
will  not  hear  me.  I  would  answer  you  from  the 
Scriptures.     If  you  cannot  hear  me  in  this  obscure 

406  SPINOZA. 

synagogue,  and  will  not  try  the  Truth  on  its  just 
grounds,  I  will  speak  my  thoughts  to  the  whole 
world,  where  no  ban  reaches.  I  have  only  come  to 
your  tribunal  to  show  you  that  I  oppose  no  asso- 
ciation that  thinks  it  possesses  the  truth  in  its 
creed;  but  freedom  of  thought  has  its  own  inviol- 
able domains.  If  you,  as  you  have  here  accepted 
me,  now  reject  me — a  new  day  will  break — " 

"  False  prophet,  be  silent  !"  thundered  Rabbi 
Aboab.  ^'  I  ask  for  the  second  time,  I  ask  for  the 
third  time,  will  you  recant  ?" 

The  stillness  of  the  grave  reigned  for  a  second 
in  the  hall;  then  Spinoza  looked  up,  and  answered 
in  a  firm  voice: 

"I  cannot,  but  neither  can  you  do  otherwise;  I 
curse  you  not." 

Rabbi  Isaak  Aboab  tore  his  mantle,  and  Rabbi 
Saul  Morteira  took  the  Schofar  that  lay  covered  be- 
fore him,  and  blew  it  three  times,  so  that  it  echoed 
on  all  sides  of  the  dome;  the  sacred  ark  was 
opened,  all  present  arose,  and  Rabbi  Isaak  Aboab 
read  from  a  parchment: 

*'  In  the  Name  of  the  Lord  of  lords 
Art  thou,  Baruch,  son  of  Benjamin, 
Laid  under  the  greater  ban. 
Be  thou  under  the  ban  of  both  laws. 
Heavenly  and  earthly: 
Be  banned  by  the  saints  above. 
Be  banned  by  the  Seraphim, 
Be  banned  by  the  Ophanim. 


Shut  out  from  all  communities. 

From  the  great  and  from  the  small. 

On  thee  be  great  and  heavy  plagues. 

Painful  and  horrible  sickness; 

Thy  house  be  a  dragon's  den, 

And  thy  star  vanish  from  above. 

Be  thou  the  pest  and  horror  of  men, 

And  thy  carcass  the  food  of  snakes. 

Be  thou  a  sport  unto  thine  enemies, 

And  the  goods  that  thou  mayest  possess 

Be  the  portion  of  strangers. 

Before  the  doors  of  thine  enemies 

May  thy  children  wail, 

And  because  of  thy  life's  tortures 

Be  thy  children's  children  struck  with  horror. 

Be  accursed  by  all  spirits 

Michael  and  Gabriel, 

Raphael  and  Mescharthel. 

Be  accursed  of  the  Great  God. 

By  the  seventy  Spirits'  names, 

Subjects  to  the  Great  King, 

By  the  great  seal  Zartok, 

Go  to  Hell  like  Korah's  band, 

And  with  trembling  and  quivering 

Thy  soul  go  out  of  thee. 

God's  terrors  slay  thee. 

Overthrown  like  Achitophel 

In  the  snares  of  thy  plots. 

Gehazi's  leprosy  be  thine, 

And  from  thy  fall  mayst  thou  never  arise; 

Where  Israel's  graves  lie 

Be  thy  grave  never  dug. 

Given  away  to  the  stranger 


408  SPINOZA. 

Be  thy  wife  ;  in  thine  hour  of  death 

May  others  defile  her. — 

This  ban,  and  this  curse 

On  Baruch,  son  of  Benjamin. 

But  on  all  Israel 

And  on  me  rest  the  peace  of  God 

And  his  blessing  eternally." 

On  this  the  Rabbi  took  the  Thora  from  the 
sacred  ark,  unrolled  it  and  read  (Deut.  xxix.  19, 
etc.):  "And  it  come  to  pass,  when  he  heareth  the 
words  of  this  curse,  that  he  bless  himself  in  his 
heart,  saying,  I  shall  have  peace,  though  I  walk  in 
the  imagination  of  mine  heart,  to  add  drunkenness 
to  thirst:  the  Lord  will  not  spare  him.  But  then 
the  anger  of  the  Lord  and  his  jealousy  shall  smoke 
against  that  man,  and  all  the  curses  that  are  writ- 
ten in  this  book  shall  lie  upon  him,  and  the  Lord 
shall  blot  out  his  name  from  under  heaven."  The 
Thora  was  returned  to  the  sacred  ark,  the  Schofar 
was  again  blown,  and  all  those  present  said,  turn- 
ing towards  Spinoza, 

*'  Cursed  be  thy  coming  in,  and  cursed  be  thy 
going  out." 

All  spat  towards  him,  and  recoiled  four  paces,  as 
with  unbroken  firmness  he  left  the  synagogue. 

Would  this  exit  from  the  accustomed  sanctuary 
be  entrance  to  another,  or  would  he  never  more 
enter  a  temple  of  stone,  and  outwardly  prove  that 
a  free  man  is  the  temple  of  God  ? 


Before  the  synagogue  he  met  Oldenburg,  Meyer, 
and  de  Vries,  who  waited  for  him;  they  had  heard 
of  the  proceedings,  and  waited  here  to  protect  him 
from  the  violence  of  the  Rabbis.  The  friends  had 
never  yet  seen  Spinoza's  countenance  so  animated 
as  now.  They  went  silently  away  with  him;  Olden- 
burg grasped  his  hand  and  pressed  it. 

As  Spinoza  passed  his  father's  house  he  heard 
the  lamentations  of  his  sisters;  he  knew  they  now 
bewailed  him  more  bitterly  than  if  he  were  dead. 

Now  that  he  had  not  renounced  it  of  his  own 
free  will,  now  that  it  was  torn  from  him,  he  felt 
doubly  what  it  is  to  be  cut  off  in  youth  from  all  that 
is  dear  and  familiar  in  it;  cutting  all  threads  of 
memory,  and  so  dismembering  life,  that  it  has  no 
longer  a  connection  with  the  past. 

The  saddest  consciousness  in  the  casting  off  of 
any  tender  relation  of  life  lies  in  this,  that  on  both 
sides  a  piece  of  life  is  extinguished  and  destroyed, 
whose  involuntary  reawakening  often  fills  us  with 
supernatural  horror,  and  makes  us  hasten  our  flignt 
to  oblivion. 

"  So  they  sat  down  with  him  ....  and  none 
spake  a  word  unto  him,  for  they  saw  that  his  grief 
was  very  great." 

So  it  says  in  Job.  Here,  tpo,  the  three  friends 
sat  and  said  nothing,  for  they  saw  that  his  grief 
was  very  great.  Oldenburg  quietly  laid  his  hand 
on  Spinoza's   shoulder,  as  if  he  could  support  him 



thus  and  lend  him  some  of  his  own  strength.  He 
felt  what  must  agitate  the  heart  of  his  friend,  for, 
though  long  absent  from  the  congregation  of  the 
synagogue,  he  must  feel  this  rough  rupture  like  a 
fatal  fall  come  at  last.  Even  if  expected  and  known 
of  for  long  beforehand,  when  death  is  at  last  brought 
decisively  face  to  face  the  pain  is  quite  new — quite 

No  sound  was  heard.  Once  only  Oldenburg 
softly  and  with  warning  movement  spoke  a  few 
words  to  Meyer  when  the  latter  had  whispered 
something  in  his  ear,  for  Meyer  was  inclined  to 
treat  the  whole  affair  as  hardly  worth  speaking  of, 
or  to  make  a  jest  of  it. 

Spinoza  sat  sunk  in  his  own  thoughts,  his  brow 
and  eyes  covered  with  his  hands.  The  friends 
looked  at  him  in  silence,  waiting  the  first  word  that 
he  would  say.  At  last  he  looked  up,  and  as  if  an- 
swering an  appeal  he  said: 

"  No,  no  !  they  shall  not  oblige  me  to  oppose 
them  in  bitterness,  hatred  and  injustice.  This 
curse,  too,  is  love.  They  would  leave  none  to  go 
wrong;  they  would  frighten  and  chastise  him  who 
would  renounce  t^eir  association.  And  this  horri- 
ble, elaborate  curse  !  If  praise  has  its  allotted 
forms  cursing  must,  have  them  also.  They  cannot 
convert  my  thoughts.  If  I  act  in  opposition  to  them 
it  is  I  no  longer  who  live  and  act.  No,  I  will  live  out 
my  own  life;  the  world  shall  not  be  my  master  !" 


"  The  world  ?"  Meyer  could  contain  himself  no 
longer.  "  What  have  a  set  of  rabbis  in  an  obscure 
synagogue  to  do  with  the  world  ?  They  send  you 
into  exile;  into  a  world  that  is  much  more  beautiful 
and  greater  than  the  one  from  which  they  banish 

"You  maybe  right;  but  remember  I  received 
there  my  deepest  awakenings  of  pleasure  and  pain. 
There  was  a  time  when  honor  and  dishonor  there 
were  to  me  the  honor  and  dishonor  of  the  whole 
world.     That  is  past." 

"Now,  my  friend  !"  cried  Oldenburg,  "you  will 
go  out  into  the  real  world,  into  the  wide,  great 
world,  and  you  will  go  with  me.  I  must  leave 
Amsterdam  in  a  few  days." 

"You,  and  just  now  ?" 

"  I.  am  sent  by  my  native  town  on  an  embassy  to 
London.     Come  with  me." 

"What  should  I  do  there  with  you  ?" 

"  A  great  scientific  society  is  to  be  founded  in 
London.  I  am  appointed  a  member,  and  you  shall 
work  with  me." 

In  bright,  attractive  colors  Oldenburg  drew  a 
picture  of  the  great  world.  Honor,  renown,  pleasure 
and  enjoyment  sparkled  in  unknown  splendor,  and 
Spinoza's  countenance  became  suddenly  brighter 
and  happier.  He  saw  himself  in  the  midst  of  the 
great  striving  crowd,  and  amidst  it  all  played  a  scene 
of  domestic  happiness  in  which  Olympia  ruled. 

412  SPINOZA. 

Meyer  and  de  Vries  added  their  persuasions. 
Their  words  were  hardly  necessary,  for  what  he 
now  heard  outwardly  Spinoza  said  to  himself  in- 
wardly. He  tremblingly  seized  Oldenburg's  hand, 
but  arrested  himself  hastily  and  said: 

"  Excuse  me;  I  must  now  be  alone  for  a  time." 

He  was  left  alone  and  the  conflict  raged  within 

"  But  why  did  the  friends  say  nothing  of 
Olympia  .''  Was  I  mistaken  in  thinking  I  perceived 
a  certain  shyness,  a  certain  strangeness  in  them  ? 
To  her — to  her;  under  her  eyes  the  new  life  must 


WOOING      BY      PROXY. 

AT  the  time  when  Spinoza  was  leaving  the  syna- 
gogue the  sacristan  was  unbolting  a  side-door 
of  the  Catholic  Church  of  St.  John.  Two  festively 
clad  men  came  out,  the  one  with  a  pale,  agitated 
face,  the  other  laughing  and  gay.  It  was  Van  den 
Ende  and  Kerkering. 

"I  am  shivering,"  said  the  latter.  "I  feel  as  if 
my  usual  clothing  was  torn  off  and  I  was  freez- 
ing. When  I  was  on  my  knees  there  abjuring 
the  familiar,  if  half  forgotten  faith,  and  accepting 
yours,  my  heart  contracted  as  if  icy  cold,  and  I 
could  hardly  bring  out  the  required  words.  Ifis  a 
good  thing  that  in  the  final  carrying  out  of  a  reso- 
lution we  have  no  alternative  left." 

"This  nonsensical  sensation,"  replied  Van  den 
Ende,  "  is  nothing  but  the  cold  church  and  your 
unaccustomed  position,  which  checks  your  circula- 
tion. Come,  my  son;  the  wine  which  they  refuse 
you  there  and  keep  for  themselves  is  much  better 
at  other  taverns.  Look  at  the  whole  thing,  as  you 
have  so  well  described  it,  in  the  light  of  a  change 
of  clothes;  as  the  fashion  is,  you  have  equipped 
yourself  for  a  wedding,  nothing  more." 



Nevertheless  Kerkering  threw  troubled  glances 
round;  he  thought  every  one  must  be  looking  at 
him  to  see  what  had  happened.  It  was  not  till 
they  turned  round  the  church  of  St.  Olave's  to  Van 
den  Ende's  house  that  the  color  returned  to  his 
cheeks.  In  the  physician's  study,  where  he  drank 
to  the  new  convert  in  ''  the  mother's  milk  of  alma 
inater  nature,"  as  he  called  it,  Kerkering  was 
warmed  by  the  fiery  wine,  and  joined  in  the  jest  on 
the  childish  sensations  which  he  had  experienced. 

Van  den  Ende  sent  to  desire  an  interview  with 
Olympia,  but  she  sent  word  that  she  was  ill  in  bed. 
He  hastened  to  her,  leaving  Kerkering  alone. 

"My  child,"  said  the  father  to  his  daughter,  "I 
am  going  on  a  difficult,  perhaps  dangerous  jour- 
ney. It  is  a  comfort  to  me  that  I  leave  you  in  good 

"  May  I  not  know  where  and  why  ?  Why  have 
I  lost  your  confidence  ?"  inquired  Olympia. 

"  That  you  may  not  pine  or  be  anxious  unneces- 
sarily. When  it  is  over  you  will  be  the  first  to  re- 
joice. I  must  play  my  part  on  a  large  stage.  I  do 
not  know  whether  it  will  be  to  laugh  or  weep.  In 
any  case  it  is  worth  the  trouble  to  prepare  with  hat 
and  wig.  You  should  remember  that  Lucian  and 
Democritus  fit  themselves  with  courage,  as  well 
as  their  more  dismal  gods.  But  you  shall  know 
everything  later.  Now  let  me  talk  to  you  as  a 
father,  as  a  friend.     Look,  I  come   to  you   in  gala- 


dress.  Say  now  with  the  Stoic  to  physical  ill,  '  I 
am  stronger  than  thou.*  Deck  thyself  likewise. 
Take  this." 

Olympia  listened  in  astonishment  to  her  father's 
voice,  doubly  gay  in  her  silence,  and  looked  wonder- 
ingly  at  the  offered  pearls.  ^ 

"  What  is  that  for  ?"  she  asked. 

"This  bridal  gift  of  his  mother's  our  friend  sends 
you  as  a  compliment,  and  says  he  has  shed  more 
tears  for  you  than  there  are  pearls  in  the  depths  of 
the  sea." 

"  Did  he  weep  ?  I  never  thought  he  would  have 
done  that.  It  was  surely  because  he  had  to  abjure 
his  father's  faith  and  accept  ours." 

"  He  did  do  it,  my  child.  There  was  still  enough 
stiff-necked  Protestantism  in  him  to  protest  against 
it,  but  it  is  a  proof  of  his  love.  In  Kerkering  you 
restore  my  Cornelius  to  me." 

"Alas  !"  cried  Olympia,  and  covered  her  face  in 
the  pillows.  After  much  persuasion  from  her  father 
she  looked  up  sobbing.  "  We  are  all  unhappy.  My 
love  belongs — you  know,  father;  why  need  I  say  it? 
I  love  Spinoza,  and  am  beloved  by  him  with  all  the 
divine  greatness  of  his  mind,  as  never  maiden  was 
loved  before." 

Van  den  Ende  struck  his  forehead  with  his 
clenched  fist.  He  paced  the  room  thoughtfully 
for  a  long  time,  then  again  seated  himself  beside  his 
daughter's  bed. 

4t6  SPINOZA. 

"  Dear  Olympia,"  he  said,  "  be  open  with  me. 
Have  you  already  confessed  your  love  ?" 


"  And  do  you  expect  my  consent  ?" 

"  Certainly,  for  your  free-thinking  mind  can  ad- 
mit of  no  prejudices." 

"  I  will  not.  Let  us  look  at  the  thing  openly. 
What  do  you  mean  to  live  on  ?  You  know  what  I 
have  is  not  really  my  own." 

"  Spinoza  could  have  a  chair  of  mathematics  or 
philosophy  at  any  university." 

"  That  is  not  certain;  he  is  rejected  by  the  Jews 
as  an  infidel,  and  the  priests  of  all  confessions  join 
hands  when  it  is  worth  while  to  put  down  the  com- 
mon enemy.  He  can  polish  glass,  and  you  earn 
something  with  organ  playing  or  other  instruc- 
tion. It  might  be  sufficient  to  ward  off  death  by 
starvation,  and  if  you  have  even  pure  water  for 
broth  you  can  steep  your  philosophy  in  it,  and  it 
will  be  nutritious  food,  but  your  children  unfor- 
tunately will  not  be  satisfied  therewith.  Your  love 
is  nothing  but  a  false  syllogism." 

"Father,  you  are  too  hard." 

"  I  am  not.  On  your  spiritual  heights,  where  you 
let  yourself  be  fluttered  round  by  nothing  but  genii 
who  have  neither  bone  nor  marrow,  any  one  such  as 
I  am  must  appear  a  barbarian.  You  have  solved 
the  eternal  problem  of  human  fate  and  the  exist- 
ence of   the  world  ;  what  does  it   matter  to  you  if 



your  fate  and  the  nourishment  of  your  existence 
give  you  a  new  problem  to  solve  day  by  day  ?  Your 
souls  love  each  other,  and  the  dear  souls,  ah  !  they 
are  such  dear  adaptable  creatures  that  no  privation 
is  too  hard  for  them." 

"  Is  that  the  want  of  prejudice  with  which  you 
would  talk  to  me  ?  Do  the  sacrifices  which  I  so 
joyfully  undertake  merit  such  mockery  ?" 

"You  are  right,"  replied  the  father,  "you  may 
marry  him  ;  I  will  not  oppose  it.  The  human  will 
is  his  kingdom  ;  it  is  also  my  motto.  But  think  of 
one  thing:  how  will  you  bear  it  when  your  friends 
and  acquaintances  turn  up  their  noses  and  titter 
when  they  see  you  cross  the  street  with  him?  '  Look, 
there  she  goes,'  they  will  say;  'she  would  have 
stayed  a  spinster  if  the  poor  Jew,  whose  kin  even 
rejected  him,  had  not  taken  pity  on  her  ! '  I  cannot 
say  they  are  wrong  if  they  think,  *  If  he  really  loved 
her  he  would  have  denied  his  old  creed  willingly, 
and  not  have  waited  till  he  was  turned  out ;'  for 
that  is  and  always  will  be  an  insult  in  the  eyes  of 
the  world.  And  they  will  gossip  further  and  say  : 
*  How  proud  she  was  once,  and  how  she  looked 
down  on  us  ;  she  is  lucky  now,  she  does  not  want  a 
wardrobe  ;  the  cast-off  dress  she  had  ten  years  ago 
is  now  her  whole  stock.  We  pity  her  v/ith  all  our 
hearts.*  I  know  such  things  could  not  and  would 
not  shake  your  resolution  ;  I  only  tell  it  you  that 
you  may  know  it  beforehand.     I  will  not  compare 

4l8  SPINOZA. 

Spinoza  in  any  way  with  Kerkering  ;  his  mind  is 
great,  and  one  minute  in  which  your  souls  ring  in 
celestial  harmony  together  weighs  against  years  of 
self-denial,  weighs  against  all  enjoyment  of  earthly 
pleasures.  You  love  and  honor  him,  you  admire  the 
majestic  nature  of  his  intellect.  I  do  not  believe  that 
he  will  misuse  this  power  over  you  ;  such  things 
seldom  happen.  What  is  he  compared  to  Kerker- 
ing ?  He  has  sealed  his  love  by  going  over  to  your 
church  ;  he  has  left  a  powerful  and  honorable  as- 
sociation ;  he  has  not  made  you  a  partaker  in  the 
painful  preliminaries,  nor  laid  any  responsibility 
on  you  that  you  might  receive  the  fruit  of  his  work 
without  personal  trouble,  and  it  is  thus  that  he  will 
always  act.  You  will  be  bound  by  no  gratitude 
for  his  acts  ;  he  makes  no  pretension  but  that  he 
loves  you.  He  adores  you,  all  your  words  are  ora- 
cles to  him,  the  lightest  wish  of  your  heart  is  a 
command  to  him  which  he  fulfils  with  joy  ;  but 
you  are  right,  you  would  not  have  a  husband  whom 
you  could  rule  ;  the  wife's  fairest  ornament  is  obe- 
dience, obedience  even  to  tyrannical  oppression. 
What  can  Kerkering  offer  you  ?  Nothing  but  a 
good,  faithful  heart  that  beats  only  for  you.  He 
can  give  you  a  life  amid  brilliant  society,  honor  and 
pleasure.  You  will  be  an  object  of  envy  to  all  your 
friends.  But  what  is  all  this  to  the  enjoyment  of 
perfect  intellectual  harmony  ?  Truly,  it  is  eternal, 
and  your  eternity  will  outlast  a  year,  maybe  two  ; 
is  not  that  enough  ?" 


Van  den  Ende  was  silent.  Olympia  no  longer 
wept  and  sobbed  ;  she  dreamily  played  with  the 
pearls  that  lay  before  her. 

"  Can  I  get  up  ?"  she  inquired  at  last. 

"  Certainly,"  said  the  father,  and  smiled  content- 
edly to  himself  as  he  left  the  room. 

Olympia  rose  and  dressed. 

"  I  made  out  my  love  to  be  stronger  than  it  is, 
to  my  father,"  she  said  to  herself.  "  Was  it  not  in 
the  beginning  mere  wounded  self-love  and  desire 
to  see  no  man  unconquered  that  threw  me  into  his 
arms?  No,  I  loved  him  formerly,  and  I  love  him 
yet."  She  took  the  pearls,  clasped  them  round  her 
neck,  and  looked  at  herself  well  pleased  in  the 
mirror.  "  '  I  should  not  have  found  another  hus- 
band,' they  will  say;  what  does  that  matter  to 
me  ?  My  own  consciousness  tells  me  these  pearls, 
and  with  them  a  life  of  brilliant  enjoyment,  was  in 
my  hand,  and  I  despised  it  all.  But  am  I  right  to 
do  it?  He  is  a  born  hermit,  knowledge  is  his  god- 
dess. I  only  free  him,  I  give  him  back  himself,  if 
I  deny  him  my  hand.  No,  this  glitter  dazzles  my 
eyes.  And  yet,  may  not  his  strong  mind  behave 
differently  when,  safe  in  possession  of  me,  he  has 
no  longer  to  woo  for  my  favor  ?  He  knows  I  feel 
small  beside  him.  How  often  has  he  tutored  me, 
and  will  he  not  do  it  in  another  sense  then  ?  No, 
he  is  kind  and  good,  but  I  am  too  weak,  and  Ker- 
kering's  submissive  adoration  has  fascinated  me," 

420  SPINOZA, 

She  laid  the  pearls  down,  and  paced  the  chamber 
thoughtfully.  Again  she  stood  before  the  mirror 
and  gazed  into  it  dreamily  and  absently.  She  saw 
herself,  pining,  ragged,  muddy  and  laughed  at,  go 
through  the  streets;  she  only  banished  this  mad- 
dening vision  with  a  forced  song.  When  her 
father  heard  her  so  gay  he  entered  the  room. 

"  Kerkering,"  said  he,  "is  waiting  outside;  he 
will  not  move  from  the  spot  until  he  receives  the 
decisive  'Yes'  or  *  No.'  I  believe  I  know  your 
thoughts.  I  will  not  try  to  influence  your  decision, 
but  I  may  be  able  to  help  you.     Come  with  me." 

Olympia  clung  to  her  father  as  if  in  childlike 
obedience  and  humility,  and  intimated  that  she 
complied  with  his  wishes;  in  this  compliance  lay 
a  half-unconscious  obstinacy,  thinly  covered  by  an 
appearance  of  humility.  Her  father  took  her  hand, 
and  led  her  into  the  other  room  to  Kerkering,  say- 

"Here  I  bring  your  bride,  my  son.'* 

Kerkering  took  a  diamond  ring  from  his  finger, 
and  placed  it  on  Olympia's. 

"  Mine  forever  !"  he  said,  and  impressed  a  warm 
kiss  on  her  lips.  In  the  same  hour  that  Spi- 
noza struggled  with  the  temptations  of  a  life  of 
honor  and  pleasure  Olympia  also  had  fought  with 
temptation  and  succumbed. 

Kerkering  and  his  bride  sat  that  evening  in 
confidential  discourse,     Van  den  Ende  rubbed  his 


hands  and  smiled  as  he  paced  the  room.  Olympia 
felt  more  and  more  at  ease  in  Kerkering's  com- 
pany; indeed  she  found  him  so  amiable  that  she 
blamed  herself  for  not  having  given  him  her  heart 
long  before.  Kerkering  told  her  that  he  had 
bought  a  well-broken-in  riding  horse  for  her,  and 
that  again,  as  years  before,  she  should  sit  proudly 
in  her  saddle,  and  ride  through  the  streets  with 
him.  He  spread  a  brilliant  life  of  pleasure  in 
entrancing  colors  before  her  eyes.  Olympia's  cheeks 
flushed  rosy  red,  her  heart  beat  loudly.  Kerkering 
held  her  in  his  embrace.  At  an  unusual  hour  and 
with  unusual  gravity  Spinoza  entered.  Olympia 
tore  herself  from  Kerkering's  arms;  for  a  second 
she  pressed  her  hands  to  her  eyes,  then  stood  up 
and  advanced  to  Spinoza. 

*'  I  know  you  do  not  like  scenes  any  more  than 
I,"  she  said  with  a  trembling  voice.  "  I  have  no 
concealments  from  my  father  and  Kerkering;  we 
did  love  each  other.  Remember  that  sacred  hour 
when  you  conjured  me  to  forget  what  we  were  and 
wished  to  be.  Now  that  time  is  come.  Herr  Ker- 
kering is  my  betrothed." 

She  was  obliged  to  support  herself  by  her  organ. 
Spinoza  stood  as  if  spellbound  before  her,  gazing 
at  her. 

"I  entreat  you,"  began  Olympia  again,  "do  not 
withdraw  your  friendship  from  me." 

"I   hope   Herr   Kerkering   may   afford   you  the 

422  SPINOZA. 

happiness  that  I  myself  in  happier  hours  hoped  to 
be  able  to  offer  you/'  answered  Spinoza  in  a  hoarse 
voice.  He  stayed  for  some  time,  spoke  on  in- 
different subjects,  and  with  an  amount  of  humor 
which  they  had  not  perceived  in  him  before. 
Though  deception  was  so  foreign  to  his  nature,  he 
was  here  entangled  in  a  double  network  of  it. 
He  hoped  by  his  equanimity  to  make  Olympia's 
part  easier  to  her,  and  made  it  more  difficult;  he 
thought  it  owing  to  his  self-respect  to  remain 
longer  that  he  might  take  leave  quietly;  but  truly 
it  was  because  it  was  so  painful  to  him  to  tear  him- 
self away  forever  from  the  charming  surroundings 
in  which  the  best  joys  of  love  had  bloomed  for  him. 

Oldenburg  came  too,  and  for  the  first  time  kissed 
Spinoza  when  he  heard  what  had  taken  place. 

Kerkering  was  in  overflowing  spirits,  and  jest- 
ingly said  that  he  was  only  born  that  day,  and 
Olympia  must  sing  him  a  cradle-song.  Oldenburg 
asked  for  the  song  of  the  "  Maid  under  the  lime 
trees."  Olympia  objected,  but  Kerkering  too  in- 
sisted on  that  particular  one;  he  desired  it  as  the 
first  and  only  compliance  of  his  new  life,  and 
pressed  on  all  sides,  Olympia  unwillingly  sat  down 
to  the  organ,  and  sang: 

"  A  maiden  should  right  early  rise 
To  seek  where  her  beloved  one  lies. 
Beneath  the  lime  trees  she  sought  him, 
But  found  not  her  love  where  she  thought  him. 



*'  A  knight  came  riding  that  way  to  see. 

*  What  do  you  here  alone  ?  '  said  he. 

*  Count  you  the  greenest  branches, 
Or  the  golden,  yellow  roses  ? ' 

'  I  count  the  greenest  branche; 
And  I  pluck  the  golden  roses 
By  my  lover  I  am  forsaken, 
No  tidings  my  ears  awaken,' 

*'  '  Art  thou  by  a  lover  forsaken  J 
No  tidings  your  ears  awaken  ? 
In  Zealand's  vales  he  doth  rest 
Where  other  fair  dames  have  caressed  him.* 

•*  '  In  Zealand's  fields  he  doth  rest  him, 
Where  other  fair  dames  have  caressed  him. 
I  pray  that  Heaven  his  guard  may  be 
Among  those  ladies  fair  and  free.' 

*'  What  took  he  then  from  his  arms  so  bold? 
A  chain  it  was  of  red,  red  gold. 
•  Fair  child,  this  chain  will  I  give  you, 
Forget  you  the  love  who  did  leave  you.' 

"  *  And  were  the  chain  but  once  so  long 
That  it  hung  from  Heaven  to  earth  along, 
Much  rather  I  would  it  should  fail  me, 
Than  love  for  another  avail  me. ' 

"  But  the  blood  of  the  knight  was  fiery  too. 
'Fair  child,'  he  cried,  '  take  heed  what  you  do. 
You  are  my  true  and  rightful  wife. 
No  other  shall  be  my  own  for  life.' " 



The  last  notes  had  not  died  away  when  Spinoza 
took  his  hat  and  departed.  Olympia  rose  and 
closed  the  keyboard  of  the  organ  so  that  the  pipes 
rattled  together.  With  overflowing  heart,  thus  in 
need  of  the  sympathy  of  others,  Spinoza  had  come 
to  Olympia.  There  are  times  when  those  to  whom 
temples  of  stone  are  closed  must  worship  in  the 
temple  of  a  faithful  human  heart. 

The  fate  of  Spinoza  had  thus  directed  him  to  seek 
happiness  in  himself  alone. 

He  might  well  have  consoled  himself  in  that 
there  was  now  no  necessity  for  him  to  bow  the 
mind  trained  to  truth  alone  to  any  form  accepted 
by  others,  and  be  taught  by  daily  labor  and  daily 
care  to  silence  and  conceal  his  convictions.  He 
might  well  have  comforted  himself  in  that  a  love 
was  annihilated  with  which  he  had  so  often  strug- 
gled painfully;  but  it  is  ever  an  enigma  of  love 
that  it  longs  for  lost  pain,  lost  desire.  Bitterness 
and  depression  sought  to  seize  on  him,  but  in  self- 
controlled  wisdom  he  learned  to  impart  to  his  mind 
ever  more  steadfastly  that  peace  of  mind  which  is 
freedom  of  mind,  in  that  it  submits  to  the  necessity 
of  events,  and  follows  their  laws  as  if  the  heart 
itself  had  no  concern  in  them.  That  abandonment 
to  a  grief  whose  painful  effects  can  be  conquered 
by  reason  is  partial  suicide.  He  who  would  be  free, 
that  is,  would  live  according  to  the  laws  of  reason, 
must  never  cease  to  be;  and  he  permits  this,  his 

wool  NC  BY  PROXY.  425 

living  eternal  self-existence,  to  be  interrupted,  if 
he  allows  himself  to  be  overwhelmed  by  his  sensa- 
tions. Only  a  life  according  to  reason  is  the  true, 
eternal  life.  ^ 

It  was  a  hard  conflict,  a  breaking  loose  from  all 
special  pleasures  and  all  flattering  demands,  which 
should  at  last  lead  him  to  the  summit  of  pure  in- 
tellect, and  enable  him  to  express  this  sentence, 
almost  incomprehensible  to  us,  which  apparently 
despises  the  world,  and  yet  glorifies  it: 

"  I  would  investigate  the  acts  and  efforts  of  men 
as  though  they  were  lines,  planes  or  bodies." 

His  friends  observed  Spinoza's  victorious  self- 
control  with  surprise  and  admiration.  By  free 
thought  he  had  conquered  life  with  all  its  casual- 
ties, and  now  in  quiet  peace  of  mind  he  might  first 
call  it  really  his  own. 

No  glory  surrounded  his  head,  but  it  illuminated 
his  whole  being. 



THE  Jewish  Church  wished  to  follow  up  its 
excommunication  with  civic  consequences,  and 
petitioned  the  magistrates  to  banish  the  "  Blas- 
phemer'* from  the  city.  The  affair  was  laid  before 
the  synod  of  the  reformed  ministry  for  decision, 
and  the  quiet  thinker  often  found  himself  distract- 
ed from  his  investigations  by  citations  and  writs. 
With  profound  reflections  on  the  regulation  of  the 
commonwealth,  and  the  consumption  of  human 
material  required  by  it,  he  often  wandered  through 
the  long  passages  of  the  law  courts,  or  sat  waiting 
in  the  ante-rooms.  The  martyrdom  of  the  modern 
world  is  composed  of  a  long  array  of  thousands  of 
trifling  annoyances,  and  our  philosopher  had  yet 
more  to  experience. 

His  friends  pressed  him  to  leave  his  native  land 
of  his  own  free  will;  he,  however,  maintained  that 
for  justice'  sake  he  must  submit  himself  to  the 
judgment  of  the  laws  appealed  to.  It  was  Olden- 
burg's last  act  of  friendship,  when  sent  to  England 
as  the  envoy  of  the  Lower  Saxon  Union,  to  free  his 
friend  from  these  annoyances.  He  repeatedly  en- 
treated Spinoza  to  follow  him,  but  Spinoza  wished 



to  remain  in  his  quiet  seclusion  in  his  native  land. 
But  he  now  prepared  to  leave  Amsterdam,  for, 
though  he  was  free  from  all  anger,  he  could  not 
always  suppress  the  sudden  emotion  which  often 
agitated  him  so  painfully  at  seeing  himself  sur- 
rounded by  dislike  and  avoidance  in  his  native 
place.  It  was  more  painful  to  him  innocently  to 
raise  this  feeling  in  others  than  to  bear  its  conse- 
quences himself. 

The  peculiarities  of  the  friends  showed  them- 
selves in  these  discussions  in  a  characteristic  man- 
ner. Meyer  found  extreme  pleasure  in  lashing  the 
transgressions,  the  narrowness,  the  stupidity  of 
men  with  his  sharp  satire.  Oldenburg  declined 
this  means,  because  any  violent  opposition,  all 
hand  to  hand  conflict  with  the  common  herd,  ap- 
peared to  him  unlovely  and  unclean ;  and  thus 
Spinoza  and  Oldenburg  often  agreed.  What  the 
other  totally  avoided  from  a  certain  feeling  for 
harmony  Spinoza  reasoned  out  for  himself  on  a 
foundation  of  knowledge. 

"  The  investigation  of  the  incongruities  and  fail- 
ings of  mankind,"  he  said,  "can  only  serve  to  teach 
us  not  to  be  carried  away  by  controversy,  but 
rather  to  quietly  work  out  our  own  laws  of  action, 
and  conquer  the  violence  of  our  tempers  in  the 
shortest  possible  time.  It  is  an  illusion  if  men  think 
to  make  themselves  free  and  happy  by  finding  out 
the  deficiencies  and  deformities  of  others  and  va- 

428  SPINOZA, 

riously  remarking  thereon.  The  recognition  of 
virtue  and  its  causes  alone  makes  us  satisfied  and 
happy;  in  that  alone  can  our  hearts  rejoice.  The 
ambitious  man  speaks  most  willingly  of  the  false 
reputations  and  base  means  of  others;  the  ava- 
ricious spendthrift,  of  the  misuse  of  money  and 
the  vices  of  the  rich.  He  who  loves  truth  does  not 
dwell  long  on  lies  and  obduracy;  he  combats  them 
to  the  best  of  his  ability,  rejoices  in  his  own  ac- 
quired knowledge,  and  admits  that  those  in  error 
also  act  according  to  the  necessities  of  their  nature." 

"  Happiness  always  lies  on  the  other  shore," 
added  Oldenburg,  "  but  on  the  other  shore  of  con- 
quered hate,  in  the  serene  peace  of  knowledge." 

Meyer  was  nevertheless  not  so  easily  converted, 
and  with  the  self-congratulation  of  having  prophe- 
sied aright  he  asked: 

"  In  Olympia  you  have  probably  seen  the  want  of 
character  and  merely  receptive  capacity  of  woman's 
nature,  and  will  give  this  variety  of  humankind 
its  suitable  place  in  your  system." 

"I  know,"  replied  Spinoza,  "that  he  who  is 
crossed  in  love  thinks  of  nothing  but  the  untrust- 
worthiness,  the  falsity  and  all  the  other  oft-repeated 
defects  of  women;  and  all  this  he  as  quickly  con- 
signs to  oblivion-  when  he  is  again  taken  into  favor 
by  the  beloved  one.  But  whoever  tries  to  regulate 
his  sensations  and  desires  only  by  his  love  of  free- 
dom will   endeavor  to   acquaint  himself  with  their 


virtues  and  the  causes  thereof  as  thoroughly  as 
possible,  and  to  fill  his  mind  with  the  joy  which 
only  springs  from  true  knowledge.  Whoever  ob- 
serves this  diligently — for  it  is  not  difficult — and 
then  practises  it,  will  best  regulate  his  actions  ac- 
cording to  the  law  of  reason." 

Thus  the  friends  raised  and  animated  each  other 
in  their  penetration  of  the  nature  of  intellect  and 
investigation  of  its  laws  of  action,  and  Spinoza  had 
in  his  own  life  proof  sufficient  of  the  theory,  which 
he  maintained  with  irrefutable  reasoning,  that  the 
passions  alone  disturb  the  universal  well-being  and 
the  internal  harmony  of  the  individual;  but  reason 
reconciles  them. 

This  pleasant,  lively  intercourse  was  interrupted 
by  Oldenburg's  departure  for  England.  Spinoza, 
Meyer  and  de  Vries  accompanied  him  to  Schreyers- 
toren  (the  weeping  gate),  which  takes  its  name  from 
j:he  tears  of  the  deserted  for  the  departure  of  their 
friends.  With  a  heavy  heart  Spinoza  tore  himself 
from  his  friend's  arms,  and  watched  him  sadly  as 
the  waves  bore  him  away.  Meyer  and  de  Vries  yet 
remained  to  him;  but  the  one  was  too  young  to  be 
wholly  his  friend,  their  age  and  experience  were 
too  unequal;  the  other  was  married.  A  hundred 
relations  and  circumstances  make  it  impossible  for 
a  husband  and  father  to  devote  himself  to  a  friend 
with  the  same  undivided  attention.  In  Oldenburg 
he  had  lost  his  most  faithful  friend. 



As  he  returned  alone  over  the  Amstel  bridge 
he  met  a  funeral  procession.  Among  the  mourners 
he  recognized  his  former  master  and  fellow-work- 
men. One  of  them  beckoned  him  to  go  with  them; 
he  joined  the  train  and  learned  that  they  were 
bearing  Peter  Blyning  to  the  grave.  On  the 
last  harvest-home  he  had  been  at  a  dance  with  his 
comrades.  His  companions  in  jest  sent  all  the 
girls  to  him,  one  after  the  other,  to  ask  him  to  dance. 
He  could  hardly  contain  himself  for  rage  and  morti- 
fication; he  poured  wine  and  gin  into  a  glass  one 
after  the  other  and  drank  them  off.  Then  weeping 
bitterly  he  took  his  crutches  and  went  out.  Sud- 
denly a  terrific  shriek  was  heard  and  hey  all 
hastened  out.  Peter  having  fallen  down  the  steps 
and  fractured  his  skull,  lay  there  in  his  last  agony. 

Spinoza  followed  the  procession  much  moved. 
On  the  way  he  encountered  Chisdai.  When  he 
came  near  him  he  saw  Chisdai  spit  towards  hin? 
three  times  and  say  the  Hebrew  words,  *'  But  thou 
shalt  utterly  detest  it,  and  thou  shalt  utterly  abhor 
it,  for  it  is  a  cursed  thing"  (Deut.  vii.  26).  Spinoza 
took  no  notice,  and,  sunk  in  his  own  thoughts,  ac- 
companied the  corpse  of  the  unhappy  man  to  its 
last  resting-place. 

That  evening  he  received  another  agitating  visit. 
Closely  wrapped  in  his  mantle  de  Silva  came  to 
him,  and  in  a  stern  voice  began  without  other  greet- 


"  It  is  not  as  the  Jew  that  I  come  to  you.  He 
knows  you  no  more.  The  physician  stands  before 
you;  his  calling  is  to  help  all,  10  advise  without 
question  whomsoever  it  may  be.  I  counsel  you, 
leave  your  native  town;  danger  menaces  you.  Your 
heart  is  sick  as  long  as  you  are  here.  No  man  can 
bear  to  wander  among  his  own  people,  thrust  forth 
from  them  like  a  corpse  by  those  with  whom  he 
once  lived  in  fellowship.  I  know  you  do  not  mean 
to  insult  those  who  take  your  continued  stay  as  an 
insult.  And  one  thing  more.  Ephraim  Cardoso 
has  joined  another  party  of  emigrants  for  Brazil. 
Chisdai  wished  to  join  them,  but  they  refused  him. 
No  one  will  associate  with  him,  he  is  avoided  like 
one  plague-stricken.  No  one  will  forgive  him  for 
being  your  accuser." 

"But  I  forgive  him." 

"  That  does  not  help  him,  nor  does  it  help  you. 
I  am  afraid  he  broods  over  a  dreadful  deed,  for  he 
seldom  leaves  home  in  the  daytime,  but  sneaks 
out  at  night.  Let  me  warn  you;  I  do  it  in  kind- 
ness to  you.  Ay,  I  will  recall  my  words,  and  say  I 
come  to  you  as  a  Jew.  You  have  not  scoffed  at 
our  religion  before  the  Sanhedrim,  you  have  spoken 
as  beseemed  a  thinker.  I  myself  will  have  naught 
to  do  with  thought  that  is  not  founded  on  faith; 
but  a  Jew  appeals  to  you;  be  just  to  us,  as  to  others. 
You  are  more  pious  than  you  let  yourself  appear, 
than  your  reason  permits  you  to  confess." 

432  SPINOZA. 

"  Is  faith  then  the  only  form  of  piety  ?" 

*'I  know,  I  know,"  continued  Silva  hastily.  "I 
am  not  come  to  dispute  with  you.  You  may  attrib- 
ute it  to  pride  that  I  still  ascribe  piety  to  you. 
But  when  you  left  the  synagogue  forever  you 
must  have  seen  beside  a  seat  of  prayer,  where  once 
your  father  stood,  a  child,  and  that  child  prayed 
fervently,  and  that  child  was  yourself.  Forget  it 
not.  And  you  may  know  and  keep  it  in  remem- 
brance that  a  Jew,  with  sorrow  in  his  heart,  sees 
you  set  forth  on  your  lonely  way.     Farewell !" 

Spinoza  stretched  out  his  hand  to  de  Silva,  but 
the  latter  only  grasped  that  of  the  heretic  with  a 
mantle-covered  hand,  and  went  quickly  away. 

This  new  circumstance  deeply  agitated  Spinoza. 
It  was  news  from  a  life  that  he  had  lost.  He  could 
not  be  forgotten  yet. 

Soon,  however,  news  of  a  death  roused  sincere 
sorrow  in  Spinoza's  heart.  It  was  the  news  that 
his  teacher.  Van  den  Ende,  was  executed  in  Paris. 
The  always  good-natured  physician,  who  prized 
laughter  as  the  highest  good,  had  in  action  shown 
a  devotion  to  his  fatherland  that  no  one  would 
have  expected  from  him.  In  order  to  prevent  Louis 
XIV.  from  levying  war  on  the  United  Provinces 
by  a  popular  rising  at  home,  he,  with  the  Due  de 
Rohan  and  others,  had  plotted  an  insurrection  in 
Normandy.  He  paid  for  it  with  a  death  on  the 




All  the  inhabitants  of  Amsterdam,  indeed  of  the 
United  Netherlands,  gave  a  tender,  and  in  some 
cases,  remorseful  thought  to  the  departed.  Many 
indeed  maintained  that  the  doctor  wished  to  enjoy 
his  greatest  good  wholesale;  he  wanted  to  laugh  in 
chorus  with  all  Europe  at  Louis  XIV.  driven  hither 
and  thither  over  the  world's  stage.  But  the  under- 
taking of  Van  den  Ende,  and  his  self-sacrificing 
death,  were  too  grave  and  impressive  not  to  cut 
short  such  an  explanation. 

Spinoza  tried  to  explain  to  himself  this  astonish- 
ing turn  in  his  teacher's  life.  That  a  lightly  living 
nature  might  also  be  a  lightly  dying  one  is  easily 
admissible;  and  even  this  neck-risking  setting  of 
his  formerly  squandered  life  on  a  single  cast  might 
be  traceable  to  Van  den  Ende's  character  and 
theories.  Still  something  remained  inexplicable. 
Spinoza  had  mentally  to  excuse  himself  to  his 
teacher;  he  had  not  expected  so  much  from  him. 

He  felt  obliged  to  offer  Olympia  his  condolences. 
In  the  expression  of  his  grief  and  recognition  of 
the  bold  deed  must  lie  his  reparation. 

He  examined  himself  severely,  and  felt  he  could 
say  that  only  pure  participation  in  the  grief  of  his 
former  love  moved  him  to  it;  and  in  the  even- 
ing he  took  the  once  familiar  way  to  Van  den 
Ende's  dwelling.  The  house  was  silent  and  de- 
serted, and  he  learned  from  a  neighbor  that  Olym- 
pia had  accompanied  her    husband    to  Hamburg. 



As  he  passed  the  church  of  St.  Olave's  on  his  re- 
turn, there,  where  he  had  once  passed  the  night  on 
the  steps,  and  gazed  at  Olympia's  window,  some  one 
rushed  at  him,  seized  him  by  the  arm,  and  stabbing 
him  in  the  breast  with  a  dagger,  ran  swiftly  away, 
saying,  "  The  ass  hath  horns."  Spinoza  had  luckily 
escaped  the  stroke.  Only  his  mantle  was  pierced. 
He  thought  he  recognized  the  assassin.  It  was 

When  the  first  involuntary  shock  and  its  imme- 
diate effects  on  his  mind  had  passed,  Spinoza  only 
reflected  that  fanaticism  is  nothing  but  a  return 
to  a  primeval  law  of  nature,  which  is  apparently 
founded  on  laws  of  mind  and  on  the  sacredness 
of  law.  The  confused,  hot-headed  zeal  which 
makes  the  internal  law  an  external  watchword  has 
in  all  times  cursed,  crucified,  burnt  at  the  stake,  and 
stabbed  its  enemies.  It  is  worth  while  to  reveal 
their  innate  laws  to  mankind,  and  lead  them  to  love, 
and  joy,  and  felicity.    .  .   . 

He  kept  the  torn  mantle  as  a  reminder  to  do  it. 

Can  we  take  this  as  a  metaphor,  that  hatred  and 
want  of  judgment  only  pierce  the  clothes  of  the 
wise,  but  cannot  reach  their  inner  self  ? 

Spinoza  did  not  hear  that  on  the  morning  after 
the  attempted  crime  a  body  was  dragged  from  the 
Amstel.  It  was  Chisdai's.  He  was  buried  un- 
mourned,  as  a  suicide,  like  Uriel  Acosta,  whose 
grave  he  had  insulted. 



No  news  of  the  Jewish  congregation  reached  Spi- 
noza, and  now  he  was  prostrated  by  sickness. 

Thy  free  thought  hath  raised  thee  aloft  into  the 
infinite;  above  isolated  appearance  thou  dost  hover 
in  the  knowledge  of  universal  laws,  then  suddenly 
thou  art  overthrown  in  an  obscure  chamber,  dead 
to  the  world,  the  mind  shattered,  extinguished  the 
streaming  light  from  the  law  of  the  universe.  No 
dagger  stroke  of  the  hand  of  man  had  reached 
Spinoza's  heart,  and  yet  he  felt  inexpressible  pain 
in  his  breast,  and  blood  flowed  from  his  mouth. 

Was  it  the  result  of  so  many  agitating  events 
following  one  after  the  other,  and  that  infirmity 
which  had  already  attacked  him  in  early  youth,  and 
recurred  on  the  occasion  of  his  preaching  in  the 
synagogue  ? 

Spinoza  lay  in  sore  sickness. 

Now  it  was  that  Ludwig  Meyer  showed  himself 
the  faithful,  helpful  friend  through  day  and  night. 
And  with  his  own  gay  humor  he  told  his  friend  in 
quiet  hours: 

"Now  you  are  what  you  ought  to  be;  indeed, 
more.  You  are  a  banished  Jew  and  a  bachelor.  A 
bachelor  can  return  again  to  that  innocence  of 
Paradise  before  woman  was  created.  He  stands 
alone  and  free.  My  original  sin — you  may  laugh 
away — you  will  help  me  by  it.  Is  it  not  of  deep 
significance  that  as  soon  as  a  second  being  speaks 
to  Adam  he  is  no  longer  alone  ?     He  no  longer  acts 

436  SPINOZA. 

merely  for  himself.  He  must  accommodate  his 
actions  to  another's.  Indeed,  in  the  end  he  follows 
another's  will.  That  is  the  fall;  he  did  not  act  for 
himself,  but  for  another.  But  the  bachelor  is  like 
Adam  in  Paradise.  You  must  remain  the  Adam  of 
the  mind." 

Spinoza  smiled  at  his  friend,  and  explained  that 
man  is  not  really  free  in  solitude,  but  only  in  so- 
ciety. Ludwig  Meyer  often  stood  as  if  in  prayer 
beside  the  bed  of  the  philosopher,  who  in  painless 
moments  looked  upon  his  illness  as  a  circumstance 
foreign  to  his  real  being.  Only  once  he  spoke  of 
the  trials  he  had  gone  through,  and  extended  an 
idea  he  had  expressed  before: 

"  The  heaviest  burden  that  men  can  lay  upon 
us  is  not  that  they  persecute  us  with  their  own 
hatred,  ingratitude  and  scorn;  no,  it  is  by  planting 
hatred  and  scorn  in  our  souls.  That  is  what  does 
not  let  us  breathe  freely  nor  see  clearly.  It  is 
vanity  and  self-destruction  to  hate  a  man.  We 
must  only  try  to  make  the  wrong  action  unavailing, 
and  thus  again  obtain  the  love  of  God,  in  which 
the  world  is  so  peaceful  and  happy,  and  which  fills 
us  at  all  times  with  joy." 

He  rose  ever  higher  towards  that  serene  height 
of  contemplation,  so  that  he  might  say  of  himself: 

"I  have  ever  carefully  striven  with  myself  neither 
to  despise,  nor  to  blame,  nor  to  detest  human  ac- 
tions, but  to  understand  them.     And  likewise  the 

SCARS  AND  purification:  437 

human  sensations  of  love,  hatred,  envy,  avarice  and 
pity,  and  the  other  motive  powers  of  the  soul  to 
regard  them  not  as  faults  but  as  qualities  of  human 
nature,  which  belong  to  it  as  much  as  air,  heat, 
cold,  storm,  thunder  and  the  like  are  in  the  nature 
of  the  atmosphere,  and  which,  if  they  are  uncon- 
genial, are  yet  necessary,  and  have  their  ascertained 
causes  through  which  we  try  to  apprehend  their 
nature,  and  in  whose  contemplation  the  mind  is  as 
much  entertained  as  in  apprehending  the  things 
that  are  agreeable  to  the  imagination." 

Meyer  could  not  abstain  from  plainly  telling  this 
investigator  of  truth  his  serious  situation.  For  a 
short  time,  as  if  he  already  felt  the  sleep  of 
death,  Spinoza  closed  his  eyes,  while  Meyer  ex- 
plained to  him  that  his  symptoms  were  unmistak- 
ably those  of  consumption,  and  only  careful  and 
regular  supervision  of  his  life  could  lengthen  his 
years.  Silence  reigned  for  a  time,  and  Meyer 
watched  the  unmoved  countenance  of  his  friend, 
who  still  kept  his  eyes  closed.  Then  the  sick  man 
arose,  his  eyes  shone  brightly,  no  sound  of  pain,  no 
complaint  parted  his  lips.  With  the  peace  of  per- 
fected wisdom  he  decided  on  the  rule  of  life  which 
he  would  henceforward  follow.  And  he  stood  erect 
while  he  declared  that  now,  in  reflection  and  self- 
knowledge  alone  should  his  life  be  ordered,  in  self- 
control  should  his  existence  be  maintained,  and  in 
peace  of  mind  it  should  be  fulfilled. 

438  SPINOZA. 

He  kept  his  word. 

When  full  of  years  to  contemplate  death,  to  leave 
the  world  of  sight  and  sensation,  this  is  hard,  and 
yet  we  may  comfort  ourselves  in  that  we  have  run 
through  our  allotted  space.  But  in  the  bloom  of 
years,  before  the  midday  of  life,  to  feel  the  seed 
of  death  within  us,  to  fight  it  day  by  day,  to  watch 
each  evidence  of  life,  to  miss  the  habitual  quiet 
conviction  that  life  will  go  on  of  itself,  with  careful 
forethought  to  keep  the  duty  of  existence  at  all 
times  before  our  eyes,  and  thus  to  rejoice  gayly 
and  innocently  in  the  sunn}'  day,  to  work  vigor- 
ously, aroused  by  no  appeal  from  without,  to  find 
in  his  own  thoughts  the  sacredness  of  life  and  its, 
joys — that  man  alone  is  capable  of  this  to  whom 
freedom  and  necessity,  mortality  and  eternity,  are 
one,  who  in  wisdom  has  mounted  the  highest 
peak  of  existence.  For  wisdom  is  recognized  har- 
mony with  nature's  laws,  the  fulfilment  of  duty, 
which,  in  recognition  of  and  obedience  to  these, 
becomes  inclination. 

Such  wisdom  was  Spinoza's. 

The  world,  with  its  thousand  contradictions  and 
inconsistencies  in  individual  manifestations,  was  in 
his  mind  dissolved  into  harmony.  He  had  thrown 
off  all  selfishness,  all  measurement  of  things  in  their 
influence  on  individuals;  his  own  life  and  its  trials 
were  lost  in  the  whole.  And  in  enjoyment  of  the 
knowledge  of  divine  truth  he  lived  the  life  eternal. 


"He  was  the" free  man  who  can  dare  to  say: 
"I  forbear  from  evil,  or  strive  to  forbear  from 
it,  because  it  is  in  direct  opposition  to  my  special 
nature,  and  would  divide  me  from   the   love  and 
knowledge  of  God,  which  is  the  highest  good." 

In  everlasting,  unalterable  harmony,  as  the  legend 
says  of  the  gods,  and  as  nature  around  is  unchange- 
able, lived  Benedict  Spinoza.  What  he  had  attained 
to  by  knowledge  became  to  him  blissful  habit.  And 
as  he  had  once  planned  life  in  his  thoughts,  his 
thoughts  now  gave  him  life. 


ONE  night  he  saw  a  great  vision.  A  man  stood 
before  him  who  was  wonderful  and  strange  to 
see.  His  head  was  covered  with  a  broad  hat  whose 
color  was  as  yellow  as  the  grain  beneath  the  sickle, 
and  the  hair  of  his  head  was  white  and  flowed  to  his 
shoulders;  on  his  brow  was  a  sign  of  blood;  his  eyes 
lay  hidden  in  their  sockets  overgrown  with  strag- 
gling hair.  Two  furrows  reached  from  them  to 
the  corners  of  his  mouth;  in  them  his  tears  had 
once  streamed,  but  now  they  were  empty,  for  the 
spring  was  dried  up.  His  white  lips  were  over- 
grown with  hair  that  reached  to  his  girdle.  A 
hair  shirt  flapped  round  his  meagre  body,  and  his 
feet  were  naked  and  cut.  At  his  right  side  hung  a 
pouch,  and  there  also  his  robe  was  covered  with  a 
patch  of  the  color  of  his  hat.  On  his  heart  he  car- 
ried a  small  roll  in  an  iron  case,  fastened  to  a  cord 
which  hung  round  his  neck  and  made  a  deep  fur- 
row in  his  flesh.  In  his  right  hand  he  held  a  staff 
which  reached  high  above  his  head. 

And  the  man  bent  over  him,  kissed  him  on  the 
brow,  and  said: 

"  Knowest  thou  me  well,  O  thou  my  son,  in 
whom  I  am  well  pleased  !     Already  more  than  six 


hundred  times  lias  the  sun  fulfilled  its  course  since 
the  day  when  woe  flowed  over  my  head.  I  stood 
in  my  doorway  and  held  my  child  in  my  arms. 
There  they  brought  Jesus,  son  of  Joseph  and  Mary 
of  Nazareth,  who  called  himself  our  Messiah.  I 
hated  him,  for  we  loved  the  earth  and  he  showed 
us  the  Heavens.  We  wished  for  a  sword,  and  he 
taught  us  to  love  the  foreign  yoke.  He  was  not 
our  Messiah.  When  he  would  have  rested  on  the 
threshold  of  my  house,  I  spurned  him  with  my  foot 
and  thrust  him  away.  But  he  said,  '  Come  with  me; 
thy  foot  which  hath  spurned  me  shall  find  no  rest 
until  the  day  when  I  return  and  found  my  kingdom 
upon  earth.'  The  child  fell  from  my  arms.  I  fol- 
lowed him.  I  saw  him  die  the  death  on  the  cross. 
I  saw  my  house,  I  saw  my  children  no  more.  They 
were  scattered  like  chaff  before  the  wind,  or  were 
devoured  by  the  sword.  Unstable  and  unsettled 
as  Cain  I  wandered  through  forest  and  field,  over 
stream  and  mountain.  The  flowers  closed  their 
petals  before  my  eyes,  the  grass  withered  if  my  feet 
approached  it,  the  birds  became  mute  in  the  air, 
and  the  hungry  lion,  roaring  as  he  came  near,  re- 
coiled in  fright  when  he  saw  me.  But  the  wild 
animals  were  merciful  and  kind  compared  with 
those  whom  I  regarded  as  of  my  race.  T  wandered 
through  town  and  country.  They  drowned  me  with 
wormwood  and  choked  me  with  gall,  they  poured 
poison  in  my  wounds  and  made  my  bed  on  thorns, 



and  when  I  would  have  laid  down  my  head  to  rest 
they  made  the  ground  tremble  beneath  me,  and 
when  I  uplifted  my  complainings  they  stopped  my 
mouth  with  fiery  embers.  In  every  place  to  which 
I  directed  my  footsteps  they  seized  me  by  the  hair, 
collected  wood  in  a  pile,  and  thrust  me  into  the 
flames;  but  Jehovah,  the  God  of  Israel,  whose  eter- 
nal Law  I  bore  in  my  heart,  sent  his  angel.  And 
though  the  flames  stretched  out  their  devouring 
tongues  towards  me,  he  saved  me;  and  though 
they  shed  my  blood  in  streams,  he  raised  me  and 
animated  me  anew;  and  though  they  enveloped  me 
in  thick  darkness,  yet  his  light  was  kindled  and 
shone  clearly  around  me;  and  though  they  buried 
me  in  mouldering  graves,  his  breath  blew  on  me 
and  breathed  new  life  into  me.  Often  I  asked  him, 
*  When  will  it  end,  O  Lord  ?  When  wilt  thou  have 
mercy  on  me  ?  When  wilt  thou  hold  me  in  kindness 
again  before  thy  countenance  ?  When  wilt  thou 
pour  balm  into  my  wounds  ?  When  soften  my  tor- 
ments ?  When  wilt  thou  let  me  find  rest  ?  When 
wilt  thou  turn  hatred  into  love,  that  I  may  cease  to 
be  an  abomination,  and  the  mark  of  scorn  unto  atl 
nations?  Why  must  I  endure  eternal- dying  with- 
out death,  an  eternal  death  without  life  ?  See,  race 
after  race  have  I  seen  fade  and  pass  away  like  the 
grass  of  the  field;  kingdoms  have  I  seen  arise  and 
crumble  to  dust  before  the  breath  of  thy  mouth. 
Everything  rots  and  is  brought  forth  anew;  only  I 


alone  hang  like  the  drops  to  a  pail  that  tremble  in 
the  wind  but  do  not  fall.  Where  the  bonds  of  ice 
hold  the  earth  everlastingly  chained,  there  I  stood; 
and  Arabia's  hot  sands  burned  the  soles  of  my  feet; 
and  nowhere,  nowhere  a  land  where  I  might  sow  or 
reap,  or  where  I  might  find  a  grave.  Jerusalem 
the  Glorious  lies  in  ruins.  When  wilt  thou  rebuil! 
her  ?  When  lead  us  back  again  ?  Look  down  !  I 
say  in  the  morning,  Would  that  it  Vv'ere  eve;  and  in 
the  evening.  Would  that  it  were  morn.  Look  down! 
Trouble  is  my  companion,  shame  and  sorrow  are 
my  playfellows.  I  have  won  love  from  them.  Give 
me  tears,  tears  give  me,  that  I  may  weep  my  misery. 
Wilt  thou  not  take  then  thy  hand  from  off  me.  Let 
mine  enemies  pierce  the  core  of  my  soul,  let  me  die, 
let  me  die.  See,  I  have  covered  myself  with  hatred; 
let  me  take  revenge  on  mine  enemies,  and  ten  times 
told  over  their  heads^what  they  have  done  unto  me. 
Speak  to  the  thunder  that  it  may  shatter  them; 
command  thy  lightning  that  it  may  devour  the 
marrow  of  their  bones;  or  give  me  a  sword,  a  sword 
give  me,  that  I  may  bathe  myself  in  their  blood. 
Or  will  the  time  come  when  Love  and  Faith 
shall  meet,  Justice  and  Peace  kiss  one  another. 
Truth  spring  from  the  earth,  Justice  look  down 
from  Heaven  ?  * 

"See,  my  son,  such  were  my  complainings,  such 
was  my  despair,  such  my  hope  !  Thou  art  come  to 
be  a  Saviour  to  mankind,  me  too  thou  wilt  save. 



Those  who  are  of  thy  race  have  rejected  thee,  they 
have  attempted  thy  life;  those  who  are  not  of  thy 
race  have  betrayed  thee,  they  have  embittered  thy 
sweetest  feeling.  Thou  knowest  no  anger,  thou  re- 
wardest  them  with  the  truth." 

The  vision  bent  again  over  the  sleeper  and  kissed 
him.  It  was  a  kiss  of  the  dying  Ahasuerus,  who 
bore  on  himself  the  doom  of  that  Israel  which  slew 
Jesus  Christ  on  the  Cross. 

Spinoza  went  to  Rhynsberg,  and  from  there  to 
Voorburg  and  the  Hague,  and  wrote  the  "  Theo- 
logico-Political  Tractate"  and  the  ''  Ethics."  There, 
alone  and  deserted,  he  ended  his  days.  The  five 
books  of  the  "  Ethics"  came  out  after  his  death. 

He  died  on  February  21st,  1677,  in  his  forty- 
fourth  year. 

No  thinker,  arisen  since  Spinoza,  has  lived  so 
much  in  the  eternal  as  he  did. 



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